Researchers at the University of California Davis have developed a novel and high throughput production process of making nano/submicro-sized fibers. By extruding in-situ micro or submicrofibrillar blend of cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) and polymers (polyolefin polyesters and proteins) into regular size fibers CAB serves as a sacrificial matrix and other polymers as micro/nano-fibrills in the matrix in coarse fiber form. After removal of CAB with acetone extraction micro as well as submicro fibers can be produced. Technology Applications: This technology is an environmentally benign method of producing nano micro or submicro fibers from polyester polyolefin and many other polymers using a hybrid CAB system with great potential to be used as biomaterials including tissue engineering in bio-medical applications functional textiles filtration media and nano sensors.
The manufacturing method is an environmentally friendly process that uses CAB as a matrix material. CAB is recyclable and reusable. It can be applied to produce polyesters polypropylene and many polymer nano and microfibers. This technology can also produce nanofibers at an extremely fast speed compared with the current technologies and can mass produce the nanofibers in continuous yarn forms. It is possible to make woven fabrics from the nanofibers while current processes can only make non-woven fabrics. Production of nanofibers from natural polymers such as proteins by using this mechanism have applications for bio-medical devices and tissue engineering.