Self-assembly-driven electrospinning: the transition from fibers to intact beaded morphologies

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Abstract

Polymer beads have attracted considerable interest for use in catalysis, drug delivery, and photo­nics due to their particular shape and surface morphology. Electrospinning, typically used for producing nanofibers, can also be used to fabricate polymer beads if the solution has a sufficiently low concentration. In this work, a novel approach for producing more uniform, intact beads is presented by electrospinning self-assembled block copolymer (BCP) solutions. This approach allows a relatively high polymer concentration to be used, yet with a low degree of entanglement between polymer chains due to microphase separation of the BCP in a selective solvent system. Herein, to demonstrate the technology, a well-studied polystyrene-poly(ethylene butylene)–polystyrene triblock copolymer is dissolved in a co-solvent system. The effect of solvent composition on the characteristics of the fibers and beads is intensively studied, and the mechanism of this fiber-to-bead is found to be dependent on microphase separation of the BCP.

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  • Self-assembly-driven electrospinning

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wang, L., Topham, P. D., Mykhaylyk, O. O., Yu, H., Ryan, A. J., Fairclough, J. P. A., & Bras, W. (2015). Self-assembly-driven electrospinning: the transition from fibers to intact beaded morphologies. Macromolecular Rapid Communications, Early view, which has been published in final form at 10.1002/marc.201500149. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalMacromolecular rapid communications
VolumeEarly view
Early online date2 Jun 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wang, L., Topham, P. D., Mykhaylyk, O. O., Yu, H., Ryan, A. J., Fairclough, J. P. A., & Bras, W. (2015). Self-assembly-driven electrospinning: the transition from fibers to intact beaded morphologies. Macromolecular Rapid Communications, Early view, which has been published in final form at 10.1002/marc.201500149. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving. Funding: Royal Academy of Engineering for funding a Research Exchange project; Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2013ZZ0004); and South China University of Technology (No. K412001III). Supporting Information is available from the Wiley Online Library or from the author.

    Keywords

  • beads, block copolymers, electrospinning, microphase separation, self-assembly

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