Chemically compatible additives were utilized to increase the ionic conductivity of polyethylene melts. When subjected to unconfined electrospinning, a predictable and significant decrease in the resultant fiber diameter with enhanced melt conductivity was observed. This generalized approach was confirmed for viscous melts, varying in conductivity over five orders of magnitude and viscosity 5×, from multiple commercial polyethylene formulations with various additives. These experimental results are connected to theory for the relevant length scales of capillary length, jet spacing, and jet radius. In particular, jet radius scales as conductivity to the −1/4 power. Fitting experimental fiber radius vs ionic conductivity data results in a similar power law exponent (−0.29). This trend, occurring at orders of magnitude higher viscosity and six orders of magnitude lower conductivity, is similar to results from needle-based, solution phase electrospinning, suggesting the generality of the effect. The connection between larger length scales, such as the distance between jets and the thickness of the film at the plate edge, and fluid properties (surface tension, viscosity, and conductivity) is also discussed.
Enhancing ionic conductivity in polymer melts results in smaller diameter electrospun fibers
N. Sheoran, B. Boland, S. Thornton, J. R. Bochinski, L. I. Clarke; Enhancing ionic conductivity in polymer melts results in smaller diameter electrospun fibers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 14 August 2023; 123 (7): 074103. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0162384
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