Nanofibers are defined as fibers with diameters less than 100 nanometres. In the textile industry, this definition is often extended to include fibers as large as 1000 nm diameter. They can be produced by melt processing, interfacial polymerization, electrospinning, antisolvent-induced polymer precipitation and electrostatic spinning. Carbon nanofibers are graphitized fibers produced by catalytic synthesis.
Inorganic nanofibers can be prepared from various kinds of inorganic substances by several techniques. The most frequently mentioned ceramic materials with nanofiber morphology are titanium dioxide (TiO2), silicon dioxide (SiO2), zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), lithium titanate (Li4Ti5O12), titanium nitride (TiN) or platinum (Pt). Production methods include direct drawing from a solution, melt processing, antisolvent-induced polymer precipitation, electrospinning or "island in the sea".
Nanofibers have applications in medicine, including artificial organ components, tissue engineering, implant material, drug delivery, wound dressing, and medical textile materials. Recently, researchers have found that nanofiber meshes could be used to fight against the HIV-1 virus, and be able to be used as a contraception. In wound healing nanofibers assemble at the injury site and stay put, drawing the body's own growth factors to the injury site. Protective materials include sound absorption materials, protective clothings against chemical and biological warfare agents, and sensor applications for detecting chemical agents. Nanofibers have also been used in pigments for cosmetics.
Applications in the textile industry include sport apparel, sport shoes, climbing, rainwear, outerwear garments, baby diapers. Napkins with nanofibers contain antibodies against numerous biohazards and chemicals that signal by changing color (potentially useful in identifying bacteria in kitchens).
Filtration system applications include HVAC system filters, HEPA, ULPA filters, air, oil, fuel filters for automotive, filters for beverage, pharmacy, medical applications, filter media for new air and liquid filtration applications, such as vacuum cleaners.
Energy applications include Li-ion batteries, photovoltaic cells, membrane fuel cells, and dye-sensitized solar cells. Other applications are micropower to operate personal electronic devices via piezoelectric nanofibers woven into clothing, carrier materials for various catalysts, and photocatalytic air/water purification
Self-brading of nanofibers is related to a balance between flexibility, adhesion, and evaporation of solvent. Its potential applications include: substances that can change optical properties on demand, molecule capture and release for e.g. timed drug delivery, energy storage, and adhesives
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- "Nano glossary". Berlin: Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing. 24 March 2011.
Taken from ISO/TS 27687:2008 Nanotechnologies – Terminology and definitions for nano-objects – Nanoparticle, nanofibre and nanoplate.
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- Pourdeyhimi, Behnam (May 5, 2012) Topic of the month: Commercialization potential of nanofiber textile membranes. Nafigate
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