1Department of Ceramic and Metallic Biomaterials, University of Havana, Cuba
2Department of Polymeric Biomaterials, University of Havana, Cuba
Submission: May 14, 2019; Published: August 26, 2019
*Corresponding author: Eduardo Peón Avés, Department of Ceramic and Metallic Biomaterials, Biomaterials Center, University of Havana, CubaHead of eukaryotic cultivation unit, LLC Pharmapark, Moscow, Russia
How to cite this article: Eduardo Peón Avés, Jomarien García-Couce. Fast Vision of The Electrospining Technique: History, Fundamentals and
003 Applications. Curr Trends Biomedical Eng & Biosci. 2019; 19(4): 556018. DOI: 10.19080/CTBEB.2019.19.556018
In recent decades the electrospinning technique has gained great interest in the scientific community. It is a simple and versatile technique that allows to obtain polymeric fibers at nanometric and micrometric scales. As a result of the process, two-dimensional and three-dimensional structures formed by fibers can be obtained, these materials have potential application in different industries such as textile, food and biopharmaceutical
Keywords: Electrospinning; Polymeric nanofibers; Drug delivery; Tissue engineering
Electrospinning is a technology for the production of continuous fibers in which high electrostatic forces are used to obtain them. The technique consists in that by increasing the potential difference that is created between two electrodes, one connected to the exit opening of the solution to be spun and another to the collector, the surface tension is overcome, causing the stretch of the drop and the consequent formation of fiber. During the
process the drop generated at the tip of the needle is exposed to the action of a set of forces, the two main types are the electrostatic repulsive forces between the charges and the Coulomb force exerted by the external electric field. The action of these forces generate a distortion of the drop in conical shape denominated “Taylor cone”. The solvent evaporates gradually during jet travel towards to the collector plate and the fibers are deposited in solid form [1-5].
The first reports of electrospinning in the literature date
back more than a century when J.F. Cooley presented his patent
“Apparatus for electrically dispersing fibers” in 1902. In 1914,
John Zeleny conducted experiments on the output of liquid droplets
at the end of a metallic capillary and from that he tried to
establish a mathematical model for the behavior of fluids under
electrostatic forces [1,6,7]. Subsequently, in the 1930s Anton
Formhals made a significant contribution to the development
of the technique. His first patenting registered in 1934 was the
apparatus for the manufacture of yarns, using electric charges,
reaching 22 patents associated with research and designs of
electrospinning equipment in a period of 10 years. Between
1964 and 1969 Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor conducted studies
about the effect of the application of an electric field on the formation
of the polymer drop at the tip of the needle and demonstrated
that a cone is formed from which the jet is generated.
His demonstration allowed to establish the theoretical bases
and the mathematical modeling of the electrospinning process.
In the following years and up to the 1990s, very few works were
carried out on this subject. In the early 1990s several research
groups took up this line of work, especially the group of Reneker
(University of Akron) which demonstrated the obtaining of fibers
from a several polymers [3,6-9]. Since then, the publication
of works on electrospinning has grown significantly per year as
can be seen in the figure, in which the annual publications of two
of the most recognized databases of the scientific literature are
A basic electrospinning equipment consists of four fundamental
parts: a high-voltage source, a syringe with a metallic
needle, a syringe infusion pump and a metal manifold that can be
a flat plate or a rotating drum. Currently, there are two standard
configurations of electrospinning, vertical and horizontal. The
process can also be carried out using two independent syringes/
needles with different solutions (Figure 2).
To adjust the diameter and the morphology of the fibers to
be obtained, there are several parameters of the process to be
taken into account. The parameters are grouped into three categories:
properties of the polymer solution, processing conditions
and environmental parameters. As regards the properties
of the polymer solution, one of most important is the viscosity
(depends mainly on the molecular weight and concentration of
the polymer), also the surface tension and electrical conductivity
of the solution, as well as the dielectric constant of the solvent.
In the processing conditions, applied voltage, solution flow rate,collector type, needle diameter and distance from the needle
to the collector influenced. The environmental parameters that
most affect the process are temperature and humidity [1-5,10].
The obtaining of materials with fibrous structure at micro/
nanometric scale by the electrospinning technique has been
very attractive for different applications. The simplicity of the
process together with the possibility of scaling are ones of the
main advantages. The micro/nanofibers have been applied in
different fields such as microelectronics, environmental protection,
catalyst design, energy and in the biomedical field which
has been one of the most important application areas. Biomedical
applications of fibrous matrices include tissue engineering,
encapsulation and drug release, wound dressing, immobilization
of enzymes, etc. [10-12].
In tissue engineering and/or wound dressings, the most interesting
characteristics of these materials are those related to
morphology. The submicrometric diameter of the matrices favors
the existence of interconnected voids and that the surface
area to volume ratio is high, which establishes a structure similar
to the extracellular matrix, promoting good cell adhesion and
proliferation. The main advantage of the electrospinning process
for the encapsulation of drugs is the absence of heat, which can
preserve the structure of temperature-sensitive molecules such
as proteins and high efficiency in the encapsulation process of
bioactive molecules can be achieved [2,4,10,12-14].
For the preparation of electrospinned fibers, almost 100 different
polymers of both natural and synthetic origin have been
used. Synthetic polymers allow better control over physical
and chemical properties, but the in vivo compatibility is limited.
Polyesters such as polycaproplactone, polylactic acid (PLA),
polyglycolic acid (PGA) and its copolymers have been one of the
most studied groups [15,16]. Other synthetic polymers that have
also great acceptance are polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol,
poly-N-isopropylacrylamide and polyurethane. In order to improve
the biocompatibility and biodegradability of the fibers,
numerous studies have been carried out using natural polymers.
To date, fibers have been obtained from carbohydrates such as
chitosan, cellulose, silk and proteins such as gelatin and collagen,
among others [12,17].
Some examples of the matrices based on micro/nanofibers
electrospinned and their biomedical applications, published in
the last 5 years, are exposed in Table 1.
Electrospinning is a simple, versatile and cost-effective
technique from which a wide variety of micro/nano structures
can be manufactured. The adjustment of the parameters such
as voltage, distance between the tip and the collector, viscosity
and concentration of the solution, among others, allows to obtain
easily arrays of micro/nano fibers electrospinned for the
desired function. Electrospun nanofiber scaffolds/membranes
have found numerous potential applications in almost all fields,
including enzyme immobilization, sensory membranes, cosmetics,
protective clothing, affinity membranes, tissue engineering
scaffolds, drug delivery and wound healing applications.
Tucker N, Stanger JJ, Staiger MP, Razzaq H, Hofman K (2012) The History of the Science and Technology of Electrospinning from 1600 to 1995. Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics 7(2_suppl): p. 155892501200702S10.
Mirjalili M, Zohoori S (2016) Review for application of electrospinning and electrospun nanofibers technology in textile industry. Journal of Nanostructure in Chemistry 6(3): 207-213.
Subbiah T, Bhat GS, Tock RW, Parameswaran S, Ramkumar SS (2005) Electrospinning of nanofibers 96(2): 557-569.