Date of this Version
APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS 98, 223108 (2011); doi:10.1063/1.3585148
Solvent evaporation plays a critical role in nanofiber formation in electrospinning. Here, we present a nonlinear mass diffusion-transfer model describing the drying process in dilute polymer solution jets. The model is used to predict transient solvent concentration profiles in polyacrylonitrile/ N,N-dimethylformamide (PAN/DMF) jets with the initial radii ranging from 50µm down to 100 nm. Numerical simulations demonstrate high transient inhomogeneity of solvent concentration over the jet cross-section in microscopic jets. The degree of inhomogeneity decreases for finer, submicron jets. The simulated jet drying time decreases rapidly with the decreasing initial jet radius, from seconds for microjets to single milliseconds for nanojets. The results demonstrate the need for further improved coupled multiphysics models of electrospinning jets.