New methods are being developed to enable the production of value-added materials from high-volume, low-cost feedstocks arising from domestic recycling streams. In this work, recycled bottle-grade polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, and polypropylene were spun into fibers from the melt using a centrifugal spinning technique. Mono-component fibers and 50/50 blends of each polymer and a 33/33/33 blend of all three polymers were evaluated. Fiber morphology, chemistry, thermal, and mechanical properties were probed. Fiber diameters ranged from ca. 1 to over 12 µm, with polypropylene fibers having the smallest fiber diameters. Mono-component fibers were generally defect-free, while composite fibers containing polypropylene were beady. Fibers made from polyethylene terephthalate had the highest tensile strength, and the addition of polyethylene terephthalate to the other polymers improved the mechanical properties of the blends. Nano- and micro-fibers from both pure and mixed waste streams are expected to have applications in myriad areas such as ultra/micro-filtration, composites, and insulation.
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