Researchers have developed a novel nanofiber production technique called centrifugal multispinning that will open the door for the safe and cost-effective mass production of high-performance polymer nanofibers. This new technique, which has shown up to a 300 times higher nanofiber production rate per hour than that of the conventional electrospinning method, has many potential applications, including the development of face mask filters for coronavirus protection.
Nanofibers make good face mask filters because their mechanical interactions with aerosol particles give them a greater ability to capture more than 90 percent of harmful particles such as fine dust and virus-containing droplets.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the growing demand in recent years for a better kind of face mask. A polymer nanofiber-based mask filter that can more effectively block harmful particles has also been in higher demand as the pandemic continues.
Using this new centrifugal multispinning spinneret with three sub-disks, researchers demonstrated the gram-scale production of various polymer nanofibers with a maximum production rate of up to 25 grams per hour, which is approximately 300 times higher than that of the conventional electrospinning system. The production rate of up to 25 grams of polymer nanofibers per hour corresponds to the production rate of about 30 face mask filters per day in a lab-scale manufacturing system.