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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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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

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Blow molding
Polymers
Fibers
Acrylates
Chemical resistance
Methacrylates
Polypropylenes
Liquids
Polyethylene
Sulfides
Silicones
Orifices
Feedstocks
Thermoplastics
Polyethylenes
Pollution
Cooling
Air
Costs
Temperature

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Melt-Blown Cross-Linked Fibers from Thermally Reversible Diels-Alder Polymer Networks. / Jin, Kailong; Kim, Sung-Soo; Xu, Jun; Bates, Frank S; Ellison, Christopher J.

In: ACS Macro Letters, Vol. 7, No. 11, 20.11.2018, p. 1339-1345.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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