Electrospinning of Ceramic Nanofibers from Polymer Precursors
Benjamin Eick and Jeffrey Youngblood
Electrospinning is a well known process, however this approach is novel in many ways. We electrospin polymer precursors that upon heating are transformed into ceramics. This is a new approach to generating ceramic fibers and yields orders of magnitude smaller diameter fibers than conventional, industrial methods. Our facility has the ability to create fibers using high electric fields of up to 100 kV. We are investigating pre-ceramic polymers, which offer the ability to create industrially important high tensile ceramic fibers of SiC and Si3N4, as well as SiO2. Fiber morphology, ceramic yield, and most importantly, decreasing diameter of fibers are the foci of this research.
Figures: Electrospun nanofibers in the FESEM.