Published: March 18th, 2021
The primary goal of this study is to describe a protocol to prepare polymeric fiber mats with consistent morphology via solution blow spinning (SBS). We aim to use SBS to develop novel, tunable, flexible polymeric fiber nanocomposites for various applications, including protective materials, by incorporating nanoparticles in a polymer-elastomer matrix.
Light-weight, protective armor systems typically consist of high modulus (>109 MPa) and high-strength polymeric fibers held in place with an elastic resin material (binder) to form a non-woven, unidirectional laminate. While significant efforts have focused on improving the mechanical properties of the high-strength fibers, little work has been undertaken to improve the properties of the binder materials. To improve the performance of these elastomeric polymer binders, a relatively new and simple fabrication process, known as solution blow spinning, was used. This technique is capable of producing sheets or webs of fibers with average diameters ranging from the nanoscale to the microscale. To achieve this, a solution blow spinning (SBS) apparatus has been designed and built in the laboratory to fabricate non-woven fiber mats from polymer elastomer solutions.
In this study, a commonly used binder material, a styrene-butadiene-styrene block-co-polymer dissolved in tetrahydrofuran, was used to produce nanocomposite fiber mats by adding metallic nanoparticles (NPs), such as iron oxide NPs, that were encapsulated with silicon oil and thus incorporated in the fibers formed via the SBS process. The protocol described in this work will discuss the effects of the various critical parameters involved in the SBS process, including the polymer molar mass, the selection of the thermodynamically appropriate solvent, the polymer concentration in solution, and the carrier gas pressure to assist others in performing similar experiments, as well as provide guidance to optimize the configuration of the experimental setup. The structural integrity and morphology of the resultant non-woven fiber mats were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and elemental X-ray analysis via energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). The goal of this study is to evaluate the effects of the various experimental parameters and material selections to optimize the structure and morphology of the SBS fiber mats.
Many light-weight, ballistic, protective armor systems are currently constructed using high-modulus and high-strength polymeric fibers, such as oriented, ultra-high molar mass polyethylene fibers or aramids, which provide outstanding ballistic resistance1,2. These fibers are used in combination with an elastic resin material (binder) that can penetrate to the filament level and secure the fibers in a 0°/90° configuration to form a non-woven, unidirectional laminate. The percentage of the polymer elastomer resin (binder) should not exceed 13% of the total weight of the unidirectional laminate to maint....
NOTE: Details related to the equipment, instrumentation, and chemicals used in this section can be found in the Table of Materials. This entire protocol should first be reviewed and approved by the institutional safety department/personnel to ensure procedures and processes specific to the institution are adhered to.
1. Preparation of polymer solution using the appropriate solvent
NOTE: Consult manufacturer/supplier safety data sheets and the institut.......
In this study, non-woven fiber mats consisting of poly(styrene-butadiene-styrene) fibers in the nano- and micro-scale, were synthesized with and without the presence of iron oxide NPs. To form fibers, the SBS parameters must be carefully selected for the polymer/solvent system used. The molar mass of the dissolved polymer and the solution concentration are critical in controlling the morphology of the structures produced by the SBS process. In this study, a poly(styrene-butadiene-styrene) block-co-polymer (styrene 30 wt........
The method described herein provides a protocol for producing polymer elastomer nanocomposite fiber mats via a relatively new technique known as solution blow spinning. This technique allows the fabrication of fibers in the nanoscale and has several advantages over other well-established techniques, such as the electrospinning process, as it can be carried out under atmospheric pressure and room temperature27. Furthermore, SBS is not highly susceptible to local environmental changes (temperature o.......
The authors would like to acknowledge Mr. Dwight D. Barry for his important contributions for fabrication of the solution blow spinning apparatus. Zois Tsinas and Ran Tao would like to acknowledge funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology under Awards # 70NANB20H007 and # 70NANB15H112, respectively.....
|45 MM Toolmaker Vise
|To secure substrate onto the collector
|Branson Ultrasonics M Series - Ultrasonic Cleaning Bath
|To disperse nanoparticles
|Cadence Science Micro-Mate Interchangeable Syringe
|Glass Syringe 5mL in 1/5mL, Luer Lock Tip
|Corning - Disposable Pasteur Glass Pipette
|DWK Life Sciences Wheaton - Glass Scintillation Vial
|20 mL with cap
|FEI Quanta 200 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
|For imaging samples
|Iron Oxide Nanopowder/Nanoparticles
|US Research Nanomaterials, inc.
|Fe3O4, 98%, 20-3- nm, Silicon oil Coated
|KD Scientific Legato 100 Single-Syringe Pump
|Single syringe infusion pump
|Master Airbrush - Model S68
|Nozzle/needle diameter: 0.35 mm
|Mettler Toledo AB265-S/FACT Scale
|For weighing polymer and Nanoparticles
|N2 Gas Regulator
|Optical Microscopy Glass Slides
|Used as a substrate for fiber mat deposition
|OSP Slotted Bob, 33 mm
|Bob, upper geometry
|OSP Slotted Double Gap Cup, 34 mm
|Double wall cup, lower geometry
|Oxford BenchMate Digital Vortex Mixer
|Rated up to 4,200 rpm, for mixing solutions
|Oxford Benchmate Tube Roller
|styrene 30 wt. %, Mw ~ 185,000 g/mol
|SEM Pin Stub Specimen Mount
|Ted Pella Inc.
|18 mm diameter x 8 mm height
|To load test materials
|solvent, HPLC grade
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