Porous Fibers Templated by Melt Blowing Cocontinuous Immiscible Polymer Blends

Aditya Banerji, Kailong Jin, Mahesh K. Mahanthappa, Frank S. Bates, Christopher J. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report a scalable melt blowing method for producing porous nonwoven fibers from model cocontinuous polystyrene/high-density polyethylene polymer blends. While conventional melt compounding of cocontinuous blends typically produces domain sizes ∼1-10 μm, melt blowing these blends into fibers reduces those dimensions up to 35-fold and generates an interpenetrating domain structure. Inclusion of ≤1 wt % of a block copolymer compatibilizer in these blends crucially enables access to smaller domain sizes in the fibers by minimizing thermodynamically-driven blend coarsening inherent to cocontinuous blends. Selective solvent extraction of the sacrificial polymer phase yielded a network of porous channels within the fibers. Fiber surfaces also exhibited pores that percolate into the fiber interior, signifying the continuous and interconnected nature of the final structure. Pore sizes as small as ∼100 nm were obtained, suggesting potential applications of these porous nonwovens that rely on their high surface areas, including various filtration modules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1203
Number of pages8
JournalACS Macro Letters
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 19 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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