Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 879–886

Acetone, a Sustainable Solvent for Electrospinning Poly(ε-Caprolactone) Fibres: Effect of Varying Parameters and Solution Concentrations on Fibre Diameter

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10924-012-0436-3

Cite this article as:
Bosworth, L.A. & Downes, S. J Polym Environ (2012) 20: 879. doi:10.1007/s10924-012-0436-3

Abstract

Electrospinning commonly requires a solvent carrier to transform polymer materials from one solid form to another. The types of solvents are often classed as toxic and hazardous and have potential long-term impacts on the environment and the health of the user. Acetone is a sustainable and non-toxic solvent, but has received limited use within the electrospinning sector—particularly for biocompatible polymers, such as poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL). This paper documents the ability to electrospin PCL dissolved in acetone and the effects of spinning parameters on the morphology and diameter of the collected fibres. Depending on the end use of the collected fibres it is important to understand how the parameters interplay and affect fibre morphology and diameter, especially if fibres of a specific form and size are required, for example, to mimic the extracellular matrix of tissues. This paper investigates the effects of flow-rate (0.05 and 0.1 ml/min), voltage (15 and 25 kV), distance (5 and 10 cm) and voltage-distance combined, on different concentrations of poly(ε-caprolactone)/acetone solutions (5, 7.5 and 10 %w/v) in terms of fibre morphology and fibre diameter. Overall, solutions of PCL dissolved in acetone could be electrospun and, in general, the trends observed with altering spinning parameters followed those documented for other polymer/solvent systems. This calls for the increased use of less hazardous and more sustainable solvents, such as acetone, for electrospinning applications.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords

ElectrospinningPoly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)AcetoneSustainabilityFibresParametersSolution concentration

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials Science CentreThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK