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Electrospinning (ES) can readily produce polymer fibers with cross-sectional dimensions ranging from tens of nanometers to tens of microns. Qualitative estimates of surface area coverage are rather intuitive. However, quantitative analytical and numerical methods for predicting surface coverage during ES have not been covered in sufficient depth to be applied in the design of novel materials, surfaces, and devices from ES fibers. This article presents a modeling approach to ES surface coverage where an analytical model is derived for use in quantitative prediction of surface coverage of ES fibers. The analytical model is used to predict the diameter of circular deposition areas of constant field strength and constant electrostatic force. Experimental results of polyvinyl alcohol fibers are reported and compared to numerical models to supplement the analytical model derived. The analytical model provides scientists and engineers a method for estimating surface area coverage. Both applied voltage and capillary-to-collection-plate separation are treated as independent variables for the analysis. The electric field produced by the ES process was modeled using COMSOL Multiphysics software to determine a correlation between the applied field strength and the size of the deposition area of the ES fibers. MATLAB scripts were utilized to combine the numerical COMSOL results with derived analytical equations. Experimental results reinforce the parametric trends produced via modeling and lend credibility to the use of modeling techniques for the qualitative prediction of surface area coverage from ES. (Copyright: 2014 American Vacuum Society.)


Originally published in Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, 32, 06FI03. doi:

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