The Study on Electrospinning of Nanofibers from Sodium Alginate and the Effects of Different Co-solvents
on Electrospinning of Polymer Solution
In the past decade, electrospinning as a facile and effective means in producing nanofibers with diameters ranging from microns down to a few nanometers has been developed and considered important. In this work, electrospinning of an interesting natural biopolymer, sodium alginate, has been investigated. The results showed that water solution of sodium alginate cannot be electrospun into nanofibers. Moreover, using different organic solvents and surfactants did not help the spinnability of the polymer solution. To improve the solubility of the polymer in organic solvents, we used ammonium alginate or alginic acid instead of sodium alginate, but the results were not satisfactory. However, we were able to electrospin the sodium alginate from aqueous solution by blending it with a synthetic polymer, poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO). The type of interactions between sodium alginate and PEO was examined by FTIR. The morphology and diameter of the electrospun fibers were observed and determined by using an optical microscope and a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The measurement of solution properties such as viscosity showed a strong dependence of spinnability and fiber morphology on solution viscosity and thus on alginate-to-PEO blend ratios.