With notable contributions from Elmarco and the University of Liberec, the Czech Republic has a long-standing association with the field of nanofibres, making it a particularly fitting venue for the third edition of the Nonwovens for High Performance Applications (NHPA) 2017 conference, which takes place in Prague on 7–8 March and has the industrial-scale adoption of such materials as one of its key themes.
Both organizations will be represented at the event. Elmarco, also based in Liberec, is a leader in the field of nanofibre machinery. Being based on the formation of charged polymer jets from the surface of a free liquid, the company’s technology (Nanospider) differs from that of conventional electrospinning, in which jets are emitted from spinnerets under the influence of an electric field. In Prague, Head of Chemistry and Technology Ivan Ponomarev will explain how Elmarco’s approach creates options for the industrial-scale production for air filtration media and performance apparel.
The latest Nanospider systems manufactured by Elmarco in the Czech Republic are characterized by significant improvements in nozzle-less technology.
For air filtration, he will explain that nanofibre webs present a high specific surface area together with a structure of small interconnected pores. Consequently, low basis weight coatings can provide high filtration efficiencies without unduly obstructing the airflow.
For performance apparel, meanwhile, there is a need to develop materials that offer different levels of breathability and water resistivity to span the diverse requirements of a broad range of end-uses and consumer needs. Fortunately, nanofibre webs can now be engineered with the required porous structures from a range of polymers, Ponomarev will tell the meeting. This, together with the high specific surface area, flexibility and low basis weight common to nanofibre webs allows manufacturers to tailor the water resistivity, air permeability and water vapour transmission rate of the materials.
At the same event, Director of Industry Relations at the Technical University of Liberec’s Institute for Nanomaterials Stanislav Petrik will review the ongoing efforts to develop high-speed, industrial manufacturing of nanofibre-based nonwovens using other commercial technologies such as those based on conventional electrospinning. It is a field brimming with opportunities, he’ll tell delegates.
Finally, delegates will also learn about one of the most recent such technologies directly from the company behind the development. Area Sales Manager for JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corp Arkadiusz Borowiec will explain how the company is exploiting carbon dioxide lasers to make nanofibres, as well as giving details of the company’s plans for a near-term commercial launch. The process combines laser-driven supersonic stretching, developed at Yamanashi University in Japan, with JX Nippon’s proprietary method for fibre dispersion. It is a solvent-free process and can make polypropylene (PP) nanofibres with diameters of 200–500 nm—a range difficult to achieve with existing methods.
To learn more about how these technologies and others are transforming the industry, come and join your colleagues in Prague.