Melt-Blown Cross-Linked Fibers from Thermally Reversible Diels-Alder Polymer Networks

Kailong Jin, Sung Soo Kim, Jun Xu, Frank S. Bates, Christopher J. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Melt blowing is a process in which liquid polymer is extruded through orifices and then drawn by hot air jets to produce nonwoven fibers with average diameters typically greater than one micron. Melt-blown nonwoven fiber products constitute a significant fraction (i.e., more than 10%) of the $50 billion global nonwovens market. Thermoplastic feedstocks, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, poly(phenylene sulfide), and poly(butylene terephthalate), have dominated melt-blown nonwovens because of their combined cost, good chemical resistance, and high-temperature performance. Cross-linked nonwovens from other commodity polymers (e.g., (meth)acrylates, styrenics, silicones, etc.) could be attractive alternatives; however, no commercial cross-linked nonwovens currently exist. Here, cross-linked fibers were produced via one-step melt blowing of thermoreversible Diels-Alder polymer networks comprised of furan- and maleimide-functional methacrylate-based polymer backbones. These dynamic networks de-cross-link and flow like viscous liquids under melt-blowing conditions and then revert to a network via cooling-induced cross-linking during/after melt blowing. Finally, the resulting cross-linked fibers can be recycled after use because of their reversible dynamic nature, which may help address microfiber waste as a significant source of microplastic pollution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1345
Number of pages7
JournalACS Macro Letters
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 20 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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