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Systematic investigation of parameters of an electrospinning process of poly(acrylic acid) nanofibres using response surface methodology

Research paper by Seyed Vahid Ebadi, Aref Fakhrali, Dariush Semnani

Indexed on: 14 Aug '19Published on: 23 Apr '19Published in: Bulletin of Materials Science



Abstract

In this study, response surface methodology (RSM) based on the central composite design (CCD) was used for modelling the electrospinning process of polyacrylic acid (PAA) nanofibres, so as to assess simultaneously the effect of the most important electrospinning parameters (concentration of polymer solution, applied voltage, distance between the nozzle and collector and flow rate of solution) on the diameter of electrospun PAA nanofibres. The surface morphology was studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The average diameter of PAA nanofibres obtained was from 233 to 1210 nm from SEM images with different process parameters. The results showed that the solution concentration, the applied voltage and the distance between the nozzle and collector are, in that order, the most important parameters affecting the diameter of nanofibres. The flow rate, however, showed no significant effect on the nanofiber diameter. The RSM model predicted that under optimal electrospinning conditions (solution concentration of 3 w/v%, voltage of 16 kV, electrospinning distance of 15 cm and flow rate of 1.75 ml \(\hbox {h}^{-1})\), the nanofibres would be 262 nm in diameter, which was proved to be very close to the actual measured value. Therefore, the obtained results demonstrated the good performance of the RSM model in investigating the effect of electrospinning variables and predicting the diameter of PAA nanofibres. PAA nanofibres have great potential in applications such as sensors and biosensors, removal of heavy metals and contaminants, muscle tissue engineering, etc. and the use of thinner nanofibres leads to their improved performance in these applications.