Electrospinning of Nanofibres

Research Area

Within the domain of textiles, the development of nanofibres and nanofibrous membranes through electrospinning is an important breakthrough. They can be thought of as a novel class of materials consisting of very thin fibres with typical diameters below 500 nm. As a comparison, classical “textile” fibres have diameters between 50 and 200 µm. The small diameter gives nanofibrous membranes interesting characteristics such as a large surface area, a high porosity (> 90%) and  improved mechanical properties compared to the bulk polymer. Due to their length, which can reach several kilometers, these fibres provide a connection between the nanoscale and the macroscale world. It is clear that electrospun nanofibres possess a lot of potential for a broad field of applications such as in wound dressings, advanced composites, filter technology, batteries, sensors and much more.

The research group has built up expertise in steady state electrospinning of numerous materials into nanofibres: biopolymers (gelatine, keratine, PCL, cellulose, …), thermoplastics (PA6, PA11, PVB, …), rubbers and even glass (silica). Many morphologies can be obtained ranging from neat round fibres, to flat ribbons, beaded chains to core/shell structures or hollow fibres. Typically, the diameters ranges between 50 and 500 nm, but even microfibres are a possibility.

This research is performed in collaboration with many research groups from within Ghent University, within Belgium and internationally.

Some of the topics currently researched at our group:

  • The use of nanofibres in liquid filtration.
  • Optical sensors (pH, heat, pressure, …) with immediate response time using dye-modified nanofibrous membranes.
  • Development of novel fibre reinforced composite materials with enhanced properties (e.g. fracture toughness) by incorporating nanofibres.
  • Development of synergistic nanofibre blend systems.
  • “Green” processing of nanofibres using ecological solvents or by solvent-less spinning
  • Breathable but water-resistant membranes


Contact and Bibliography

Prof. dr. ir. Karen De Clerck