Electrospinning can be used to create sub-micron fibers from diverse materials, from polymers to blends to ceramics. Electrospinning can be performed with two wires as electrodes, but most often a syringe is used to press the polymer solution (or melt) via a needle into the electric field where the material is stretched and drawn to a counter-electrode.
The shape of the electric field - and correspondingly the forces on the polymer fibers and their orientation - depends on the geometry of the electric parts in the setup and possibly introduced additional conductive objects. This shape was recently simulated by a research group applying COMSOL Multiphysics. Meshing is reported to cause problems due to significantly different dimensions of the needle diameter and lengths, etc., which had to be overcome. In this way, 14 different situations were modelled which may be used in needle-electrospinning, modifying the needle(s) as well as the counter-electrode. Especially, the influence of additional electrodes on shaping the electric field was examined. In this way, spinning parameters can be optimized theoretically, supporting also researchers to manipulate the electric in the desired way.
Krzysztof Smółka, Anna Firych-Nowacka, and Marcin Lefik
Three-dimensional computer models of electrospinning systems
Open Phys. 15, 777–789 (2017)