Preparation of superhydrophobic and self-cleaning polysulfone non-wovens by electrospinning: influence of process parameters on morphology and hydrophobicity

Al-Qadhi, M., Merah, N., Matin, A., Abu-Dheir, N., Khaled, M., & Youcef-Toumi, K.

Journal of Polymer Research 22.11 (2015): 207.

Electrospinning is used to prepare hydrophobic and self-cleaning polysulfone (PSf) surfaces. The effects of PSf concentration in Dimethylformamide (DMF) solvent and electrospinning process parameters on the surface structure and hydrophobicity are investigated. The experimental results show that depending on PSf concentration, three types of morphologies are obtained: beads, beads-on-strings, and free-beads fibers. The surface hydrophobicity depends mainly on the resultant surface morphology, and the existence of beads increases hydrophobicity. The contact angle (CA) is found to increase from 73° for smooth PSf surface to more than 160° for surfaces formed by electrospinning. Moreover, the contact angle hysteresis (CAH) was generally less than 10° for all the chemistries. It is noted that increasing the PSf concentration leads to the formation of beads-on-string and free-beads fiber structures; this morphological change is accompanied by a reduction in the contact angle. Surface structures are found to be more sensitive to electrospinning feed rate than to electrospinning voltage; however, these two parameters have a negligible influence on the hydrophobicity. Porosity measurements of different chemistries show an average pore size in the range 3–8 microns. The thickness of PSf mats was variable, from as low as 10 μm to as high as 70 μm.


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