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Exploring the Opportunities of Electrospinning
in the Textile Industry

By Laura Munevar-Ortiz

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Innovation in the textile industry has been historically driven by advancements

in technology, materials, and manufacturing processes. Among these,

electrospinning has emerged as a groundbreaking technique with application

in various fields. This process involves the creation of ultrafine fibres by applying

an electric field to a polymer solution.

 

Its ability to produce fibres with diameters ranging from nanometers to

micrometers offers significant advantages, including enhanced surface area,

improved strength-to-weight ratio, and superior water vapour transmission.

By manipulating parameters like polymer composition and processing

conditions, manufacturers can engineer fibres with specific functionalities such

as antimicrobial properties, chemical properties, UV resistance, and even conductive properties for wearable electronics integration. This versatility opens the door to innovative textile applications in numerous fields.

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In the realm of textiles, electrospun fibres can be incorporated into fabrics to enhance performance and comfort. For instance, sportswear manufacturers can utilize these fibres to create lightweight fabrics that provide optimal water vapour transport during intense physical activities.


 

Also, these fine fibres can be used in the production of protective clothing with superior barrier properties, crucial in industries such as healthcare and hazardous materials handling. The ultrafine fibres create a dense network with high porosity, facilitating efficient particle capture and water vapour transmission. Furthermore, electrospinning offers a sustainable alternative in textile production, as it enables precise control over fibre deposition, thus minimizing material waste. Additionally, recent research has found various biodegradable polymers and eco-friendly solvents that can be used in electrospinning, contributing to environmentally conscious manufacturing practices.

As the textile industry continues to evolve, electrospinning emerges as a key player in driving innovation and addressing consumer demands. With its versatility this technology offers a lot of opportunities for creating high-performance textiles across a spectrum of applications. As research and development efforts progress, we can expect electrospun textiles to become increasingly prevalent.

20 µm
 

30 µm
 

References:

  1. Ding B, Wang X, Yu J, eds. Elsevier; 2019.

  2. Robinson AJ, Pérez-Nava A, Ali SC, González-Campos JB, Holloway JL, Cosgriff-Hernandez EM. Comparative analysis of fiber alignment methods in electrospinning. Matter. 2021;4(3):821-844. doi:10.1016/j.matt.2020.12.022

  3. Kaviannasab, E., Munevar-Ortiz, L., Hoque, S., and Dolez, P. Protective Clothing against Chemical and Biological Agents using Nanocomposite Nanofibrous Membranes. Presentation at the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering International Congress 2022.

  4. Al-Dhahebi AM, Ling J, Krishnan SG, et al. Electrospinning research and products: The road and the way forward. . 2022;9(1):011319. doi:10.1063/5.0077959

  5. Suen DWS, Chan EMH, Lau YY, et al. Sustainable Textile Raw Materials: Review on Bioprocessing of Textile Waste via Electrospinning. . 2023;15(15):11638. doi:10.3390/su151511638

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This article was written by Dr. Laura Munevar-Ortiz,

munevaro@ualberta.ca

graduate of the University of Alberta

and ready to join a workforce of our

Canadian textile industry.

Laura Munevar-Ortiz holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Textile Science and Chemical and Materials Engineering, which endows her with a multifaceted perspective in her research and professional pursuits. With a strong focus on innovation, collaboration, and a deep interest in sustainability, Laura has actively participated in several research projects, including the Accelerated Aging of Firefighters Protective Clothing and the Comfort-Optimized Materials for Operational Resilience, Thermal-transport, and Survivability (COMFORTS).

Her research on moisture barriers used in firefighters' protective clothing involved analyzing the effects of accelerated thermal, hydrothermal, laundering, and ultraviolet aging on the mechanical and barrier performance of these composite materials. This research laid the foundation for future advancements aimed at enhancing firefighter safety. Additionally, as part of the COMFORTS project, Laura played a pivotal role in formulating electrospinning solutions to fabricate nanofibre membranes designed to provide enhanced protection against chemical and biological hazards, while ensuring comfort and water vapour transport. Laura's industry background encompasses experience in the apparel sector, where she contributed to administrative and production operations.

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