|Weiss, D.; Skrybeck, D.; Misslitz, H.; Nardini, D.; Kern, A.; Kreger, K.; Schmidt, H.-W.: Tailoring Supramolecular Nanofibers for Air Filtration Applications, ACS Applied Materials Interfaces, 8, 14885−14892 (2016) -- DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b04720|
The demand of new materials and processes for nanofiber fabrication to enhance the performance of air filters is steadily increasing. Typical approaches to obtain nanofibers are based on top-down processes such as melt blowing, centrifugal spinning, and electrospinning of polymer materials. However, fabrication of polymer nanofibers is limited with respect to either a sufficiently high throughput or the smallest achievable fiber diameter. This study reports comprehensively on a fast and simple bottom-up process to prepare supramolecular nanofibers in situ inside viscose/polyester microfiber nonwovens. Here, selected small molecules of the materials class of 1,3,5-benzenetrisamides are employed. The microfiber–nanofiber composites exhibit a homogeneous nanofiber distribution and morphology throughout the entire nonwoven scaffold. Small changes in molecular structure and processing solvent have a strong influence on the final nanofiber diameter and diameter distribution and, consequently, on the filtration performance. Choosing proper processing conditions, microfiber–nanofiber composites with surprisingly high filtration efficiencies of particulate matter are obtained. In addition, the microfiber–nanofiber composite integrity at elevated temperatures was determined and revealed that the morphology of supramolecular nanofibers is maintained compared to that of the utilized polymer nonwoven.