The fabrication of electrospun nanofibers has sparked great interest in both academia and industry owing to their unique properties, such as a high surface area to volume ratio, porosity, interconnected porous structure, or controllable fiber morphology. They are highly desired in numerous application areas such as filtration, biotechnology, and energy storage. Cellulose acetate is an ester of cellulose, one of the most abundant natural polymers, that is biodegradable, non-toxic, and has good stability. Electrospinning of cellulose acetate has received significant interest in a broad spectrum of applications, including membranes and air filters, drug-delivery systems, scaffolds for tissue engineering, sensors, and batteries. The electrospinning of cellulose acetate predominantly suffers from the use of toxic and hazardous solvents, which makes the final products less suitable for application in biosystems. In this work, the sustainable electrospinning of cellulose acetate has been shown using renewable-based green solvents, dimethyl carbonate, and cyclopentanone. A binary system consisting of these solvents has been applied. The addition of green salts and biosurfactants substantially improved the spinnability of the cellulose-based solutions. Altering the composition of the solvents allowed tuning of the fiber texture from highly porous to smooth fiber morphology. The thermal analysis revealed that the polymer’s thermal behavior had not been influenced by the salt in nanofibers. Incorporating additives into the polymer matrix resulted in enhanced mechanical properties of nanofibers. Uniform cellulose acetate-based porous nanofibers from green solvents and additives could be successfully fabricated, which has not been reported yet. Based on the reported advantageous properties of electrospun CA nanofibers, it may serve as a possible green and biodegradable porous support layer in thin-film composite membranes replacing the conventional fossil-derived polymeric membrane supports.
|Date made available
|KAUST Research Repository