Texas Tech Researchers Make Nanofibre Fabric

10 September 2006

Texas Tech University researchers may have discovered a polyurethane nanofibre technique that can be used to make fabrics.

Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, an assistant professor at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech, and graduate student Thandavamoorthy Subbiah recently discovered a honeycomb polyurethane nanofabric by using electrospinning. The nanofabric is created by exposing polyurethane to high voltage.

Ramkumar’s findings are featured in the Sept. 5 edition of the Journal of Applied Polymer Science. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

“These fibres are tiny,” Ramkumar said. “They’re about 1,000 times smaller than microfibres. We are able to develop honeycomb-like structures with this method, which makes a mesh within a mesh. This may not only provide increased surfaces area, but also can trap toxic chemicals more efficiently. These fibres are yet to be tested for their protection capabilities.”

Ramkumar and other researchers were able to observe self-assembled honeycomb nanomeshes that have not been reported before in the case of polyurethane nanofibers.

The image, taken with an electron microscope, shows how polyurethane nanofibers can create a honeycomb formation when hit with a high-voltage manipulation technique called electrospinning.

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