Electrospinning is a well-known technology used to create nanofiber mats from diverse polymers and other materials. Due to their large surface-to-volume ratio, such nanofiber mats are often applied as air or water filters. Especially the latter, however, have to be mechanically highly stable, which is challenging for common nanofiber mats. One of the approaches to overcome this problem is gluing them on top of more rigid objects, integrating them in composites, or reinforcing them using other technologies to avoid damage due to the water pressure. Here, we suggest another solution. While direct 3D printing with the fused deposition modeling (FDM) technique on macroscopic textile fabrics has been under examination by several research groups for years, here we report on direct FDM printing on nanofiber mats for the first time. We show that by choosing the proper height of the printing nozzle above the nanofiber mat, printing is possible for raw polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofiber mats, as well as for stabilized and even more brittle carbonized material. Under these conditions, the adhesion between both parts of the composite is high enough to prevent the nanofiber mat from being peeled off the 3D printed polymer. Abrasion tests emphasize the significantly increased mechanical properties, while contact angle examinations reveal a hydrophilicity between the original values of the electrospun and the 3D printed materials.
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