Melt blowing

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Melt blowing process

Melt blowing is a conventional fabrication method of micro- and nanofibers where a polymer melt is extruded through small nozzles surrounded by high speed blowing gas. The randomly deposited fibers form a nonwoven sheet product applicable for filtration, sorbents, apparels and drug delivery systems. The substantial benefits of melt blowing are simplicity, high specific productivity and solvent-free operation.


During volcanic activity a fibrous material may be drawn by vigorous wind from molten basaltic magma called Pele's hair.[1] The same phenomenon applies for melt blowing of polymers. The first research on melt blowing was a naval attempt in the USA to produce fine filtration materials for radiation measurements on drone aircraft in the 1950s.[2] Later on, Exxon Corporation developed the first industrial process based on the melt blowing principle with high throughput levels.[3]


Polymers with thermoplastic behavior are applicable for melt blowing. The main polymer types commonly processed with melt blowing:[4]


Melt-blown fabrics have generally the same applications as other nonwoven products. The main uses of melt-blown nonwovens and other innovative approaches are as follows.[5]


The porous nonwoven melt-blown fabrics can be used in the filtration of gaseous as well as liquid materials. These applications include water treatment, masks, air conditioning filter, etc.


Nonwovens are capable to retain liquids several times of their own weight. For instance, polypropylene nonwovens are ideal to recollect oil contaminations.[6][7]

Hygiene products[edit]

The high sorption efficiency of melt-blown nonwovens can be exploited in disposable diapers, sanitary napkins and other feminine hygiene products as well.[8]


The good thermal insulation properties, the barrier behavior against fluids combined with breathability make melt-blown nonwovens a great choice for apparels even in harsh environments.

Drug delivery[edit]

Melt blowing is also capable to produce drug-loaded fibers for controlled drug delivery.[9] The high throughput rate (extrusion feeding), solvent-free operation accompanied with the increased surface area of the product make melt blowing a promising new formulation technique.[10]


  1. ^ Shimozuru, D. (1994). "Physical parameters governing the formation of Pele's hair and tears". Bulletin of Volcanology. 56 (3): 217–219. doi:10.1007/s004450050030.
  2. ^ Shaumbaugh, R.L. (1988). "A macroscopic view of the melt-blowing process for producing microfibers". Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 27 (12): 2363–2372. doi:10.1021/ie00084a021.
  3. ^ Ellison CJ, Phatak A, Giles DW, Macosko CW, Bates FS (2007). "Melt blown nanofibers: Fiber diameter distributions and onset of fiber breakup". Polymer. 48 (11): 3306–3316. doi:10.1016/j.polymer.2007.04.005.
  4. ^ Dutton, K.C. (2008). "Overview and analysis of the meltblown process and parameters". Journal of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management. 6.
  5. ^ McCulloch, J.G. (1999). "The history of the development of melt blowing technology". International Nonwovens Journal. 8.
  6. ^ Wei, Q. F.; Mather, R. R.; Fotheringham, A. F. & Yang, R. D. (2003). "Evaluation of nonwoven polypropylene oil sorbents in marine oil-spill recovery". Marine Pollution Bulletin. 46 (6): 780–783. doi:10.1016/s0025-326x(03)00042-0. PMID 12787586.
  7. ^ Sarbatly R.; Kamin, Z. & Krishnaiah D. (2016). "A review of polymer nanofibres by electrospinning and their application in oil-water separation for cleaning up marine oil spills". Marine Pollution Bulletin. 106 (1–2): 8–16. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.03.037. PMID 27016959.
  8. ^ Wehmann, M.; Mcculloch, W.J.G. (2012). Karger-Kocsis, J., ed. Melt blowing technology In: Polypropylene: an AZ reference. Springer Science & Business Media.
  9. ^ Balogh, A.; Farkas, B.; Faragó, K.; Farkas, A.; Wagner, I.; Van Assche, I.; et al. (2015). "Melt‐blown and electrospun drug‐loaded polymer fiber mats for dissolution enhancement: A comparative study". Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 104 (5): 1767–1776. doi:10.1002/jps.24399. PMID 25761776.
  10. ^ QDevelopment. "Melt blowing". Retrieved 1 June 2016.