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Article

The Effect of Dye and Pigment Concentrations on the Diameter of Melt-Electrospun Polylactic Acid Fibers

Brightlands Chemelot Campus, Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM), Maastricht University, Urmonderbaan 22, 6167 RD Geleen, The Netherlands
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Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2321; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102321
Received: 17 September 2020 / Revised: 30 September 2020 / Accepted: 9 October 2020 / Published: 11 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conductive Polymer Composites)
Sub-microfibers and nanofibers produce more breathable fabrics than coarse fibers and are therefore widely used in the textiles industry. They are prepared by electrospinning using a polymer solution or melt. Solution electrospinning produces finer fibers but requires toxic solvents. Melt electrospinning is more environmentally friendly, but is also technically challenging due to the low electrical conductivity and high viscosity of the polymer melt. Here we describe the use of colorants as additives to improve the electrical conductivity of polylactic acid (PLA). The addition of colorants increased the viscosity of the melt by >100%, but reduced the electrical resistance by >80% compared to pure PLA (5 GΩ). The lowest electrical resistance of 50 MΩ was achieved using a composite containing 3% (w/w) indigo. However, the thinnest fibers (52.5 µm, 53% thinner than pure PLA fibers) were obtained by adding 1% (w/w) alizarin. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that fibers containing indigo featured polymer aggregates that inhibited electrical conductivity, and thus increased the fiber diameter. With further improvements to avoid aggregation, the proposed melt electrospinning process could complement or even replace industrial solution electrospinning and dyeing. View Full-Text
Keywords: melt electrospinning; PLA; dope dyeing; biobased composites; nanotechnology; environmental sustainability melt electrospinning; PLA; dope dyeing; biobased composites; nanotechnology; environmental sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Balakrishnan, N.K.; Koenig, K.; Seide, G. The Effect of Dye and Pigment Concentrations on the Diameter of Melt-Electrospun Polylactic Acid Fibers. Polymers 2020, 12, 2321. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102321

AMA Style

Balakrishnan NK, Koenig K, Seide G. The Effect of Dye and Pigment Concentrations on the Diameter of Melt-Electrospun Polylactic Acid Fibers. Polymers. 2020; 12(10):2321. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102321

Chicago/Turabian Style

Balakrishnan, N.K., K. Koenig, and G. Seide 2020. "The Effect of Dye and Pigment Concentrations on the Diameter of Melt-Electrospun Polylactic Acid Fibers" Polymers 12, no. 10: 2321. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102321

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