One-dimensional nanostructured organic materials gain a continuously growing scientific, technological, and industrial interest, with possible applications spreading in different fields such as air and water filtration, drug delivery, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, as well as many others involving active materials for photonics or electronics. Among fabrication and synthesis methods currently available for the production of 1D organic nanostructures and polymer fibers, electrospinning is a unique technology not only for its unequalled operational simplicity, but also because it can be effectively up-scaled opening actual perspectives for industrial production. At laboratory scale, for instance, electrospinning allows to process up to several liters of polymer solution under continuous runs.
Today, leading electrospinning research towards industrial applications has special interest since nanofibrous media have shown great potential in different application fields thanks to the intriguing peculiarities of electrospun nanofibers, which include their in-principle extreme length (up to km), high surface area and tunable porosity, intrinsic three-dimensional topography and functional properties. Nowadays, electrospinning equipment and technological solutions, and electrospun materials are rapidly moving to commercialization. Dedicated companies supply laboratory and industrial-scale components and apparatus for electrospinning, and others commercialize electrospun products.
Dario Pisignano (University of Salento) and colleagues in their recent Review article focus on relevant technological approaches, developed by research, which show perspectives for scaling-up and for fulfilling requirements of industrial production in terms of throughput, accuracy, and functionality of the realized nanofibers. A critical analysis is provided about technological weakness and strength points in combination with expected challenges from the market.
This article is part of the special Best of Macros 2013 issue, and is now free to read at http://www.best-of-macros.de!