Porous thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) membranes were produced by the electrospinning process. Two different TPUs and their blends were used to investigate the effects of material composition, solution concentration, and rheological properties on the microstructure, fiber diameter, and fiber diameter distribution of the electrospun membranes. The ratios of hard and soft segments in the solutions were adjusted by varying the blend ratios of TPUs dissolved in N, N-dimethylformamide. The solutions with higher TPU concentrations and more hard segments exhibited a higher viscosity, larger storage and loss moduli, and greater electrospun jet stability. Solutions with concentrations around the critical chain entanglement concentration (Ce) produced bead or beaded fiber structures, while bead-free fibers of a uniform diameter were obtained when the concentration increased to about two times that of Ce. Relationships between the electrospun fiber diameter, the Berry number, and the normalized concentration of the solutions were studied as well.
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The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Chinese Scholarship Council and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, the financial support of the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos.51073061 and 21174044), the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities (Grant No.2011ZZ0011), and the 973 Program (Grant No. 2012CB025902).
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Mi, HY., Jing, X., Jacques, B.R. et al. Characterization and properties of electrospun thermoplastic polyurethane blend fibers: Effect of solution rheological properties on fiber formation. Journal of Materials Research 28, 2339–2350 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1557/jmr.2013.115