Drop Impacts on Electrospun Nanofiber Membranes
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
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This work reports a systematic study of drop impacts of polar and non-polar liquids onto different electrospun nanofiber membranes (of 8-10 μm thickness and pore sizes of 3-6 μm) with an increasing degree of hydrophobicity. The liquids studied were water, FC 7500 (Fluorinert fluid) and hexane. The nanofibers used were electrospun from Polyacrylonitrile (PAN), Nylon 6/6, Polycaprolactone (PCL) and Teflon. It was found that for any liquid/fiber pair there exist a threshold impact velocity (~1.5-3 m/s) above which water penetrates membranes irrespective of their hydrophobicity. The other liquids (FC 7500 and hexane) penetrate the membranes even easier. The low surface tension liquid, FC 7500, left the rear side of sufficiently thin membranes as a millipede-like system of tiny jets protruding through a number of pores. For such high surface tension liquid as water, jets immediately merged into a single bigger jet, which formed secondary spherical drops due to capillary instability. No mechanical damage to the nanofiber mats after liquid perforation was observed. A theoretical estimate of the critical membrane thickness sufficient for complete viscous dissipation of the kinetic energy of penetrating liquid is given and corroborated by the experimental data.