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Protocol for Solution Blow Spinning of Polymeric Nano-Composite Fibers for Personal Protective Equipment.



Zois Tsinas, Ran Tao, Amanda L. Forster


Light-weight protective armor systems typically consist of high modulus and high strength polymeric fibers held in place with an elastic resin material (binder) to form a non-woven unidirectional laminate. While significant efforts in the research community have focused on improving the mechanical properties of the high strength fibers over the years, little work has been undertaken to improve the properties of the binder materials. To improve the performance of these elastomeric polymer binders, we aim to use a relatively new and simple fabrication process, known as solution blow spinning. This technique is capable of producing sheets or webs of fibers in the micro- and nano-scale. To achieve this, we have designed and built an SBS apparatus in our laboratory that can be used to fabricate non-woven fiber mats from polymer elastomer solutions. In this study we evaluated a commonly used binder material, a styrene- butadiene-styrene block-co-polymer dissolved in tetrahydrofuran. We further used this polymer to produce nanocomposite fiber mats by adding metallic nanoparticles (NPs), such as iron oxide NPs, that were embedded in the fibers formed via the spinning process. The protocol described in this work will discuss the effects of the various critical parameters involved in the SBS process, including the polymer molar mass, the selection of the appropriate solvent, the polymer concentration in solution, and the carrier gas pressure in an effort to assist others in performing similar experiments. The structural integrity and morphology of the resultant non-woven fiber mats were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques and elemental X-ray analysis. Our goal is to understand the effects of the SBS parameters in order to optimize our experimental parameters and material selections to obtain fibers with the desired structure and morphology.
Journal of Visualized Experiments


Solution Blow Spinning (SBS), polymeric fibers, fiber nanocomposites, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), poly(styrene-butadiene-styrene), iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles


Tsinas, Z. , Tao, R. and Forster, A. (2021), Protocol for Solution Blow Spinning of Polymeric Nano-Composite Fibers for Personal Protective Equipment., Journal of Visualized Experiments, [online], (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created March 18, 2021, Updated October 14, 2022