Microscopic mechanism for the effect of adding salt on electrospinning by molecular dynamics simulations

BB Wang and XD Wang and TH Wang, APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS, 105, 121906 (2014).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4896690

Adding salts into polymer solution has been found to modulate the fiber structure and significantly improve the solution spinnability in electrospinning. However, the mechanisms have not been fully understood. This work adopted molecular dynamics method to investigate the dynamic behavior of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO)/water droplet with or without dissolved NaCl salt under high-voltage electric field. Our simulation results agreed with the previous experimental reports well. We observed that some daughter droplets detach from the mother droplet due to the ions evaporation and hydration effect, which significantly accelerates the water evaporation and hence improves the solution spinnability. We also observed that some sodium ions are always coordinated with the ether oxygen group in the PEO chain. When these ions are accelerated by the electric field, the PEO chain segments follow the motion of the ions, inevitably stretching the chain and improving the fiber morphology. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

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