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Electrospinning event: Nanofibres to Nanocomposites

25 October 2011

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, has announced details of its electrospinning event on November 8 2011. Electrospinning is a technique for the manufacture of continuous nanofibres in polymeric, organic and inorganic materials and opens up new possibilities of developing materials for a wide range of applications.

The Nanofibres to Nanocomposites event will present new developments in electrospinning and bring together experts from different market sectors, such as 3D cell culture, fuel cells and photocatalysis to explore the potential for the development of new products based on electrospun fibres.

Oliver Hardick, a research engineer at the Micro and Nanotechnology Centre (MNTC), Science and Technology Facilities Council will present on 'Nanofibre Fabrication in a Controlled Environment: Improved Fibre Consistency for Membrane Applications.' Electrospun nanofibres have an array of properties which has seen their development into a wide range of industries. For many industries, such as biotechnology, the reproducibility of product is either expected or required by validation and regulation. This talk will present on work carried out at the MNTC aimed at fabricating reproducible nanofibre membranes and will demonstrate the requirement to control ambient parameters during the electrospinning process.

Dr Urszula Stachewicz, Senior Researcher, Nanoforce Technology will present on ‘From Nanofibres to Nanocomposites at Nanoforce Technology’. Polymeric nanofibres are now being routinely produced cheaply and in large quantities using electrospinning manufacturing methods. Recent studies at Nanoforce show that the electrospun nanofibre networks, and potentially other fibrous networks, present an inherent toughening ability due to stress delocalization around cracks that are large relative to the fibre components of the network.

Nonwoven electrospun nanofibres are often nanocomponents in polymer composites. The adhesion between the fibres and the binding polymer critically defines the mechanical performance of the whole composite. The Nanoforce results show that composite performance is limited due to polymer matrix viscosity, with void free composites exhibiting the highest tensile properties.

Additional presentations will be delivered from Cella Energy, Neotherix, The Electrospinning Company, Johnson Matthey, Phenom-World, QMUL, Manchester X-ray Imaging Facility and the Universities of Leeds and Warwick.

The international market for nanofibres is forecast by BCC Research to exceed $800 million by 2017 growing from an estimated $140 million in mid-2010.

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