Professor Tan in the labratoryIn recent years, nanofibers have emerged as a candidate for cost-effective air filtration. Nanofibers have special properties such as high surface area to volume ratio, high electric properties, excellent mechanical properties and low basis weight. Finer fibers cause the slip-flow condition, which increases the interception and inertia impaction efficiency. Slip-flow conditions could also decrease the air flow resistance which reduce the pressure drop across the filter media. Consequently, employing the nanofibrous filter for nanoparticle filtration enhances the filter quality parameter.

One of the most efficient technique for fabricating continuous nanofibers in the range of a few nanometers to several micrometers is electrospining. In this process, a polymer solution is injected at a constant feed rate though a nozzle which is charged to a high voltage. The applied voltage induces a charge on the surface of the liquid droplet and when this is sufficiently high, the droplet is stretched and polymer jets are formed on the tip of the syringe and finally collected by the collector. Electrospun nanofibers also have potential applications to textile manufacturing, electronic application, membrane fuel cells, tissue engineering, drug delivery, and filtration.

Our goals in this area are:

1) to understand the nanoaerosol-nanofiber interfacial behavior 

2) to develop cost-effective technologies for large scale nanofiber fabrication.