Fabrication of macroscopic three-dimensional (3D) structures made of nanofibers of widely used polymers is reported. 3D structures have several benefits over conventional flat two-dimensional (2D) structures by the added dimension. The structures have been fabricated by the 3D electrospinning technology that can build 3D structures rapidly due to certain additives in the solution and appropriate process conditions. The process parameters of 3D electrospinning have been identified and investigated to better understand the formation mechanism of the 3D build-up for polystyrene (PS), polyacrylonitrile (PAN), and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP). Different types of electrodes were inserted in the electrospinning chamber to alter the electric field and have better control over the shape of the 3D structure. The upscalability of this technology was investigated by using a standard electrospinner and a nozzle-free electrospinning setup. It was possible to manufacture 3D structures with these devices, highlighting the versatility of this technology. 3D electrospinning opens the pathway for the facile fabrication of macroscopic 3D structure with microfibrous features on a commercial scale.
- 3D electrospinning
- Formation mechanism