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Biobased Dyes as Conductive Additives to Reduce the Diameter of Polylactic Acid Fibers during Melt Electrospinning

Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM), Maastricht University, Brightlands Chemelot Campus, Urmonderbaan 22, 6167 RD Geleen, The Netherlands
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Both authors contributed equally to this work.
Materials 2020, 13(5), 1055; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13051055
Received: 21 January 2020 / Revised: 15 February 2020 / Accepted: 24 February 2020 / Published: 27 February 2020
Electrospinning is widely used for the manufacture of fibers in the low-micrometer to nanometer range, allowing the fabrication of flexible materials with a high surface area. A distinction is made between solution and melt electrospinning. The former produces thinner fibers but requires hazardous solvents; whereas the latter is more environmentally sustainable because solvents are not required. However, the viscous melt requires high process temperatures and its low conductivity leads to thicker fibers. Here, we describe the first use of the biobased dyes alizarin; hematoxylin and quercetin as conductive additives to reduce the diameter of polylactic acid (PLA) fibers produced by melt electrospinning; combined with a biobased plasticizer to reduce the melt viscosity. The formation of a Taylor cone followed by continuous fiber deposition was observed for all PLA compounds; reducing the fiber diameter by up to 77% compared to pure PLA. The smallest average fiber diameter of 16.04 µm was achieved by adding 2% (w/w) hematoxylin. Comparative analysis revealed that the melt-electrospun fibers had a low degree of crystallinity compared to drawn filament controls—resembling partially oriented filaments. Our results form the basis of an economical and environmentally friendly process that could ultimately, provide an alternative to industrial solution electrospinning View Full-Text
Keywords: fiber spinning; alizarin; quercetin; hematoxylin; crystallinity; nanotechnology fiber spinning; alizarin; quercetin; hematoxylin; crystallinity; nanotechnology
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Koenig, K.; Balakrishnan, N.; Hermanns, S.; Langensiepen, F.; Seide, G. Biobased Dyes as Conductive Additives to Reduce the Diameter of Polylactic Acid Fibers during Melt Electrospinning. Materials 2020, 13, 1055.

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