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Polymer Hybrid Nanocomposite Fibres

  • Kamlesh Kumar
  • Vipin Chawla
  • Sunita MishraEmail author
Living reference work entry
  • 126 Downloads

Abstract

Advancement in material sciences towards manufacturing facilities, interface engineering technologies, and analytical tools has enabled the researchers to explore the nanomaterials to form variety of polymer and polymer hybrid composites with novel structures and applications. This chapter presents a comprehensive study about polymer and hybrid nanocomposite fibres for academic and industrial research purposes. “Polymer hybrid nanocomposites” are a fascinating class of materials that combine polymers with other materials where one of the phases has nano-dimension to enhance optical, electrical, magnetic, and thermal properties. These materials can be fabricated as gel, particles, film, or fibres. Hybrid nanocomposites have shown a wide range of applications in the area of sensors, display, catalysts, energy storage and generation, filters, and separators.

The chapter begins with an introduction to polymer and polymer hybrid fibres followed by synthesis and characterization of different inorganic or organic material as well as their thermal, optical, electrical, and magnetic properties. It also reviews the preparation routes of polymer hybrid nanocomposite fibres with a detail analysis of physical and chemical properties for various applications such as energy and environment. It also discusses the current challenges in the area with perspectives on the new and futuristic application.

This chapter can provide a platform to the readers to get a better understanding of the basic methods and experimental procedure for synthesis, characterization, and applications of the polymer hybrid nanocomposite fibres.

Keywords

Fibres Polymers Hybrid Composites Nanofibres 

Polymer Fibres

Introduction

The fibres are elongated material with a high aspect ratio and some other unique features which make them interesting for many applications in textile, home furnishing, biomaterials, and composites (Jayaraman et al. 2004). The formation, structure, and properties of fibres are fundamental aspects to know details of fibre science, and a variety of synthetic fibres have been prepared since the last century such as polymer, carbon, silica, composites, etc. (Fourné and Hergeth 1999).

Depending on the base of their origin or structure, the fibres can be divided in different categories (Gohl and Vilensky 1983). Typically, the textile fibres are simply classified in natural and man-made fibres. The natural fibres are further divided into animal, vegetable, and mineral fibres. On the other side, the man-made fibres, also called artificial fibres, branch into polymer and non-polymer fibres. Usually, the polymer fibres are produced from low molecular weight substances converted into fibres at high pressure and temperature in the presence of catalysts. The polymer fibres are further divided into synthetic and natural polymer while non-polymer fibres into glass fibres, carbon, ceramic fibre, or metal fibre depending on the type of materials used. These fibres have been extracted by mechanical, (Deshpande et al. 2000) chemical, (Rao and Rao 2007) and water retting processes (Cater et al. 1974). Different morphologies, structures, and properties of the fibres can be achieved by these methods. The fabrication of hybrid fibres is always interesting because of better chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties of the hybrid materials compared to parent materials. The hybrid fibre can be a combination of organic with organic or inorganic materials depending on the end use of product. In recent time, different types of hybrid fibres have been synthesized including elastomeric fibres, core-sheath bicomponent fibres, lyocell fibres, stimuli-responsive fibres, and liquid crystal fibres. Polymer hybrids are multifunctional materials having two or more than two components in which one of the constituents is polymer. Polymer hybrid fibres have potential functional application in textile, households, and automotive industries.

This chapter emphasizes on the synthesis, characterization, and application of polymer and polymer hybrid fibres. The innovative polymer hybrid fibres can be prepared by versatile and cheap spinning techniques such as melt, wet, dry, and gel spinning (White and Cakmak 1986; Yudin et al. 2014; Anton 1944; White and Hancock 1981). Spinning method depends on the polymer characteristics and required fibre properties. However, these spinning methods can produce the fibre diameters in the micrometer range. In order to synthesize fibres in the nanometer range, a number of techniques such as self-assembly, template synthesis, phase separation, and electrospinning have been introduced (Huang et al. 2003). The increased surface area of nanofibres can make them an optimal candidate for many practical applications.

Fibre Formation Technology

Polymer and polymer hybrid fibres are prepared by spinning the polymer. The polymer molecule must move independently with one another to start the manufacturing of the fibre. Therefore, first polymer must be converted into a liquid or semisolid state either by heating until molten or by dissolving in a solvent. The polymer can be in either melted form or solution form depending on the polymer or manufacturing process (Ziabicki 1976). The resulting liquid is extruded through a spinneret to form a polymer fibre. The solvent is evaporated from the final spanned fibre.

According to the nature of the polymer that is being spun into a fibre spinning or manufacturing conditions, the spinning process can be divided into different categories as follows:
  1. (a)

    Melt spinning

     
  2. (b)

    Solution spinning

     
  3. (c)

    Gel spinning

     
  4. (d)

    Electrospinning

     

Melt Spinning

Melt spinning is an economical and environment-friendly method since there is no solvent used in this process. Viscous molten polymer is extruded through the spinneret at higher speed about 1000–6000 m/min, followed by cooling down, and solidified by cold air (Murase and Nagai 1994). Generally, nylon, polypropylene, and polyester fibres are produced by using this process. The melt spinning is applicable to only those polymers that melt without any thermal degradation. A schematic diagram of melt spinning process is shown in Fig. 1. A typical melt spinning setup consists of a hopper with a metering pump to regulate flow rate of the polymer granules, an extruder, heating elements to melt the polymer, a spinneret to extrude the polymer through fine holes, a quenching zone to turn the filament into solid, and a winder to winding the fibre.
Fig. 1

Schematic diagram of melt spinning process

Solution Spinning

Solution spinning process is recommended for the high melting point and ultrahigh molecular weight polymers. In this method, polymer is dissolved into a solvent to prepare spinning solution. Solution spinning process is divided into two types, i.e., wet spinning and dry spinning. In wet spinning process, polymer is dissolved into nonvolatile solvent, and during spinning, the spinneret is submerged in the spin bath, and fibres are extruded directly into spin bath at room temperature as shown in Fig. 2 (Gupta 1997). On the other hand, in the dry spinning process, a volatile solvent and heated chamber of air are used. Fibres like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), acrylic, modacrylic, rayon, aramid, and spandex are fabricated from wet spinning approach. In dry spinning, as the fibres emerge through the spinneret, the solvent evaporates through a heated column, resulting in the solidification of the fibre. Triacetate, PVC, and PVA fibres are produced from dry spinning. The high-performance polymer fibres with enhanced mechanical, electrical, and chemical properties are produced using this technique (Jalili et al. 2013).
Fig. 2

Solution wet spinning process

Gel Spinning

Gel spinning is also known as semi-melt spinning process. The higher-strength fibres are manufactured from a solution of extremely high molecular weight (above 600 kg/mol) polymer in a solvent at low concentration (1–2%). It makes polymer in gel phase, and the polymer chains can be stretched to form highly oriented fibre of high strength (Kuo and Lan 2014). Gel spinning contains three steps: dissolution, spinning, and drawing. High stiffness polyethylene, PVA, and aramid fibres are produced via gel spinning.

Electrospinning

In the electrospinning process, a high-voltage power supply was used to produce continuous fibres from submicrometer to nanometer size (Salas 2017). A schematic representation of the electrospinning setup is shown in Fig. 3. The setup consists of a syringe containing a polymer solution connected to high voltage. This polymer solution becomes continuously charged with a high-voltage power supply, and at a critical value when the electrostatic repulsion overcomes the surface tension of polymer solution, the droplet of the solution is ejected from the needle of the syringe. The fibre diameter can be tuned in this technique. The final properties of the fabricated fibres depend on the various experimental parameters such as polymer solution concentration, power supply, conductivity, distance between the needle and collector, and flow rate of the solution (Huang et al. 2003; Heikkilä and Harlin 2008; Varesano et al. (2009); Jun-Seo (2010)).
Fig. 3

Schematic diagram of electrospinning setup

Various hybrid nanocomposite fibres have been developed by combining synthetic fibres with natural fibres, metallic nanoparticles, epoxy or carbon fibres, etc. In the next section, some synthetic fibres especially polyolefin, polyacrylic, polyesters, polyamide fibres, and their nanocomposites fibres are discussed in more detail.

Polyolefin Nanocomposite Fibres

The olefin fibres are synthetic hydrocarbon fibres mostly comprised of polyethylene and polypropylene. The chemical structure of these fibres is shown in Fig. 4. These fibres are hydrophobic and chemical inert in nature since they contain only saturated C–C and C–H bonds. Polyethylene and polypropylene fibres are synthesized from controlled polymerization of ethylene and propylene monomers, respectively. The olefin fibres have potential applications in households, automotive, and textile industries due to their low density, low moisture absorbance, higher strength, and good chemical and abrasion resistance (Moody and Needles 2004).
Fig. 4

Chemical structure of polyethylene and polypropylene

The olefin fibres are generally manufactured by melt spinning, and melted polymer is extruded through spinneret into fibre. Ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibre is prepared by gel spinning process, and it has high strength with excellent mechanical properties (Weedon et al. 2005).

Polyolefin fibres can be combined with carbon nanotubes, natural fibres, or metallic particles in order to make polyolefin hybrid fibres. The synthesis of carbon nanotube-polyolefin composite fibre can enhance their performance and functionality in terms of better mechanical and conductivity properties (Liu and Kumar 2014). These hybrid fibres are manufactured from melt spinning, electrospinning, and solution spinning processes. Polypropylene fibres that are mixed with natural fibres such as flex or hemp can introduce biocompatibility and biodegradability to improve high mechanical properties, decrease cost, density and acoustic insulating properties. The combination of olefin fibre with metal significantly reduced the free shrinkage of hybrid fibre (Mesbah and Buyle-Bodin 1999).

Polyester Composite Fibre

Polyester fibre is a synthetic fibre that comprises an ester of polyfunctional alcohols and acids (Militky 2009). Polyester is prepared under trade name as Dacron (USA), Terylene (UK), and Trevira (Germany). Poly(ethylene terephthalate) is the most commonly used polyester fibre, and chemical structure is shown in Fig. 5.
Fig. 5

Chemical structure of poly(ethylene terephthalate)

Hybrid polyester fibres are formed by combining polyester fibres with natural fibres or metals, to produce a cloth with blended properties. Mixing with natural fibres increases their biodegradability, lightness, and favorable mechanical properties. For example, cotton-polyester blends (polycotton) can be strong, wrinkle-free, and tear-resistant and reduce shrinking (Harper et al. 1986). Higher-strength pineapple polyester composite fibre with varying fibre length and fibre volume fraction was fabricated by hand layup method (Devi et al. 1997). A modified electrospinning and wrapping system was used to fabricate polyester staple yarns nanowrapped with polysulfone amide fibres to improve mechanical, thermal, and hygroscopicity properties (Tong and Bin-Jie 2015). Surface properties of the polyester composite fibres have been modified using cellulose nanocrystal (Huang et al. 2017).

Polyamide and Composite Fibres

Polyamide fibre was the first synthetic fibre to be synthesized. Polyamide is having amide linkage in the chain, and nylon-6 and nylon-66 are the most common fibres belonging to the polyamide group (Vasanthan 2009). Nylon-66 is a copolymer of adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine, whereas nylon-6 is obtained from homopolymerization of caprolactam, shown in Fig. 6 (Deopura and Mukherjee 1997).
Fig. 6

Copolymerization and homopolymerization reactions to prepare nylon fibres

In order to obtain specific property, polyamide fibres can be combined with glass, carbon fibres, natural fibres, clay, or metals. Significant improvements in modulus, moisture resistance, and fast crystallization were achieved in polyamide-glass fibre composites (Akkapeddi 2000). To get additional mechanical properties of carbon reinforcement/polyamide composites, interfacial polymerization and hot compression molding techniques were employed (Botelho et al. 2003). Antimicrobial activity in the electrospun nylon nanofibres can be introduced by doping with silver ions (Cheng et al. 2018).

Acrylic Fibres

Acrylic (polyacrylic) fibres are soft, thermally insulated, lightweight, and resistant to all biological and chemical agents. DuPont developed first commercial acrylic fibre as Orlon, and modified acrylic fibre was developed by Union Carbide as Dynel. The chemical structure of acrylic fibre is shown in Fig. 7. Acrylic fibres can be used as a substitute for wool and nylon due to its superior characteristics of durability, easy wash, and wear properties. Acrylic fibres are prepared by homopolymerization of acrylonitrile monomer, and modified acrylic fibres are synthesized by copolymerization of acrylonitrile with other vinyl copolymers such as vinyl chloride, vinyl acetate, vinyl alcohol, and vinylidene chloride (Mather 2015). Mostly, suspension and emulsion polymerization process is used to produce acrylic fibre and modified acrylic fibre, respectively. Persulfate, chlorates, and hydrogen peroxide are used as radical generators in the process.
Fig. 7

Chemical structure of polyacrylic

Large categories of metal-doped acrylic hybrid fibres have been fabricated by using electrospinning method. Different metallic nanoparticles (Ag, Pd, Au), bimetallic nanoparticles (Ag/Au, Ag/Pd), metallic oxide nanoparticles, and metal chloride nanoparticles embedded into acrylic fibre using photochemical reaction, microwave radiation, and gas solid reactions. The hybrid nanocomposites have lots of potential applications in electronic and sensing devices, gas phase catalytic applications, and conductivity enhancement (Qiao et al. 2018; Nirmala et al. 2012).

Characterization Techniques for Polymer Nanocomposite Fibres

Various characterization techniques are available to understand and explore the physical, mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties of polymer nanocomposite fibres. Physical characterization techniques especially scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are commonly used for evaluating the microstructural parameters of polymer nanofibres such as diameter, orientation, shape, and surface roughness. Mechanical properties are used to evaluate the impact of nanoparticles on the mechanical properties of polymer composites and are obtained by using ultimate tensile machine, dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) measurements, and tensile testing. Generally, the elastic modulus of the sample is used to understand the behavior of the composites under mechanical stress. The thermal behavior of these composites can be studied using thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC).

Physical Characterization

The scanning electron microscopy is an easy and versatile technique to obtain the surface morphology of the sample by scanning it using focused electron beam. The interaction of electron beam with the sample generates secondary electrons that results in SEM image. The resolution and quality of the image depend on electron energy, sample density, atomic structure, and sample surface conductivity. Sample is prepared by coating the sample with thin conductive layer usually ~5 nm gold/carbon film. SEM micrograph is used to visualize the surface morphology of polymer nanofibres for its roughness, diameter, and distribution, and it can also be used to observe the nanofibres orientation as it plays an important role for mechanical as well as biological applications. The SEM micrograph of electrospun PVA-MWCNT aerogel is shown in Figure 8. It shows that the addition of MWCNT in PVA decreases the average diameter of the electrospun nanofibres but the increase in the concentration of MWCNT from 1% to 5% increases the fibres diameter from (61 nm to 75 nm) due to the agglomeretion of MWCNTs.
Fig. 8

SEM micrographs and distribution of the nanofiber diameters for (a) PVA aerogel and (b) the PVA-MWCNT (1 wt%), (c) PVA-MWCNT (2 wt%), and (d) PVA-MWCNT (3 wt%) nanocomposite aerogels (Adapted from Heidarshenas et al. 2019)

Another technique is transmission electron microscopy which is a sophisticated tool to observe crystal structure as well as dislocations and grain boundaries of the samples. It can also be used for the elemental analysis of the samples. When a beam of electrons pass through a very thin sample, images are produced. Generally, the samples are prepared by placing the carbon-coated copper grids on the collector on which a thin layer of composite nanofibres is directly deposited. Depending on the type of materials, the sample preparation method is different. For example, TEM image of PPy-Pd nanocomposite-coated fibres after extraction of fibres is shown in Fig. 9. TGA and TEM can be used to predict the structure and density of the interphase of the nanocomposite systems.(Ciprari et al. 2006)
Fig. 9

TEM images of the polystyrene-Al2O3 (a) and polystyrene-Fe3O4. Inset shows the particle size distribution (Ciprari et al. 2006) Adapted from Ciprari et al. 2006. Copyright (2006) American Chemical Society

Another technique is atomic force microscopy which is used to get the high-resolution three-dimensional image of the sample surface which is reconstructed from the intermolecular force of attraction between the sample and tip when it is moved in close proximity of the sample. It can be operated in different modes, i.e., contact, semi-contact, force modulation, and frictional force, to get the information about the fibres especially conformational and chain order, crystalline order, and polymer crystals. By controlling the force to deform the surface, it can also be used to understand the mechanical properties of the fibres. One of the major advantages of AFM is that it does not require vacuum environment and can operate in wet condition.

As an example, PVA/chitosan nanocomposite fibres prepared by electrospinning method are shown in Fig. 10. The concentration of the PVA/chitosan solution was varied from 3 to 5 wt%, and it was observed that the diameter of as-prepared PVA/chitosan nanocomposite fibre was approximately 100 nm with maximum fibre yield at 5 wt%.
Fig. 10

AFM images of as-produced PVA/CS nanocomposite fibres prepared from PVA/CS precursor concentration of (a) 3 wt%, (b) 4 wt%, and (c) 5 wt% (Adapted From Paipitak et al. 2011)

XRD analysis is done to study the crystal structures of various polymer nanocomposite nanofibres along with other properties like lattice constants, crystallite size, and crystal defects. The diffraction pattern is obtained by irradiating the sample with X-ray of fixed wavelength at varying angle and observing the change in the intensity of diffracted X-ray beam. Debye-Scherrer equation is used to calculate the average crystallite size (d) of the materials as given below:
$$ d=\frac{K\lambda}{\beta \cos\;\left(\theta \right)} $$
where β is the full width at half maximum (FWHM), K is a constant with general value of 0.9, and θ is the Bragg angle.
Figure 11A and B shows the XRD patterns of PVA, pristine a-ZrP filler, and the electrospun PVA/ZrP nanofibres. PVA shows semicrystalline feature, while both a-ZrP 500 and a-ZrP show high crystallinity. The PVA/ZrP electrospun fibres are showing amorphous behavior due to low loading of ZrP.
Fig. 11

XRD spectra of the as-received polymer matrix, nanofillers, and electrospun PVA/ZrP nanocomposite fibres: (A) (a) PVA, (b) ZrP-500, (c) PVA/5 wt% ZrP500, and (d) PVA/1 wt% ZrP500; (B) (a) PVA, (b) ZrP-1500, (c) PVA/5 wt% ZrP1500, and (d) PVA/1 wt% ZrP1500. (PVA: poly(vinyl alcohol); ZrP: a-zirconium phosphate) (Adapted from Wei et al. 2013)

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is an effective analytical technique for determining the functional groups interacting within polymer and nanocomposite fibres by the covalent bonding information. The spectrum is obtained by scanning the samples in the wavenumber ranging from 400 to 4000 cm−1. As an example, Fig. 12 shows the FTIR spectra of the PVDF-HFP/Ni-ZnO nanofibers. Intensity of the FTIR spectra peak at 840 cm−1 for the doped samples is higher than the neat PVDF-HFP nanofibers. It can also be observed that the α- phase disappear in Ni-ZnO nanocomposites confirming the increase in β-phase with the filler concentration.
Fig. 12

FTIR spectra of neat PVDF-HFP and the nanocomposites. (Adapted from Parangusan et al. 2018)

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of polymer fibres can be improved by doping the nanoparticles with uniform dispersion, orientation, and adhesion to prepare polymer nanocomposite fibres. In this regard, tensile testing is the ideal way to explore the behavior of the polymer nanocomposite fibres at the macroscopic scale by determining its flexural strength, flexural modulus, flexural load, and deflection at break. For example, improved mechanical properties were observed in multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT)-nylon-6 nanocomposite fibres at a lower concentration of MWNT loading as (<0.5%), a result of proper dispersion, orientation, and interfacial interactions. However, at higher MWNT loadings, molecular weight of the synthesized nylon-6 reduced significantly, resulting in decreased mechanical properties (Mhetre et al. 2007). It is reported and shown in Figure 13 that Carbon Nanofibre (CNF)/ Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)/ montmorillonite (MTM) improves the yield strength and gives a better mechanical strength (Liu et al. 2017). The mechanical properties of the cellulose nanofiber-reinforced composites can be enhanced by controlling the orientation of cellulose nanofiber through multiplemechanical extension treatments.
Fig. 13

Compression stress−strain curves of the CNF-reinforced PVA:MTM aerogels tested in the longitudinal direction (Adapted from Liu et al. 2017. Copyright (2017) American Chemical Society)

Thermal Properties

Differential scanning calorimetry is used to observe the thermal transitions of polymer nanocomposites when heated. Polymers are generally amorphous in nature that can undergo a transition phase when heated or cooled at glass transition temperature (Tg). Tg is influenced by nanoscale inclusions due to the interaction of the polymer chains with the surface of the nanoinclusions. As an example, DSC analysis of the PVP nanocomposite fibres with and without MWCNT concentrations is shown in Fig. 14.
Fig. 14

DCS analysis of PVP nanocomposite fibres associated with (a) 0  wt% and (b) 4  wt% of MWCNTs (Adapted from Khan et al. 2013)

Electrical Properties

The insulating polymer can be made conductive by using nanoparticles for electronics and electrical applications. Electrospun nanocomposite fibres of poly(methyl methacrylate) and single-walled carbon nanotubes have shown significant improvement in the electrical conductivity compared to the polymer (Sundaray et al. 2008). MXene, a recently discovered family of two-dimensional (2D) transition metal carbides and/or nitrides is used to modify the electrical properties of the polymer film. It has been observed that a small percentage (1%) of Ti3C2Tx increases the electrical conductivity of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), PEO, poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), and alginate/PEO nanofibres.

Most polymers exhibit low electrical conductivity; however, in the presence of conductive inclusions such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, or metal nanoparticles, e.g., gold or silver, the electrical conductivity can be increased. It was observed that resistance of the PVP fibres was decreased in the presence of MWCNT inclusions, and it was reduced from 50 MΩ to below 5 MΩ, which may be attributed to the higher electrical conductivities of CNT and fewer voids under the applied loads (Khan et al. 2013). The variation of electrical resistance of 1% SWCNT loading in PMMA at different temperatures was observed, and temperature-dependent electrical resistance shows 1-D VRH type conduction mechanism above room temperature (300 K) (Sundaray et al. 2008). One dimensional arrays of ordered electroactive nanostructures of crystallinepristine C60 and phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester coated onto supramolecular fibres based on pentapeptides has been fabricated to make efficient photo-active materials (Alberto Insuasty et al. 2015)

Metal-like electrical conductivity of polyacrylonitrile (PAN), poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) nonwoven was obtained by adding small amount of silver nanowire and is shown in Fig. 15 (Reich et al. 2018).
Fig. 15

Electrical conductivity of polymer composite nonwoven with respect to the AgNW content. (Adapted from Reich et al. 2018)

Applications of Polymer Nanocomposite and Fibres

In the previous sections, we discussed the preparation and properties of some synthetic fibres especially polyolefin, polyacrylic, polyesters, polyamide, and its hybrid forms, which have potential applications in textile, households, and automotive. This section will follow applications of these synthetic fibres. Polyolefin fibres are having two important polymers, i.e., polyethylene and polypropylene. From these two, polyethylene fibres have found applications in twines and nets, ropes, cut and puncture resistance, and ballistic protection. On the other side, polypropylene fibre finds its utility in hygienic applications like food packaging, filters, diapers, automotive parts, hygiene bands, surgical masks, and medical devices. Polypropylene fibres also have applications in carpet backing, geotextiles, and upholstery fabrics, but applications of polypropylene fibres are limited in the apparel sector of the textile industry due to inability of polypropylene fibres to be colored by conventional dyeing techniques used for other synthetic fibres. This is due to polypropylene fibres’ nonpolar nature, high crystallinity, and lack of functional group to hold dye molecules. This is the reason why most of the commercially available polypropylene fibres are colored by mass pigmentation (Anand and Horrocks 2016). Polyolefin fibres also have limited applications in high-temperature engineering due to their low melting temperature and mechanical properties, which can be enhanced by doping of carbon nanotubes, nanosilicates, and nanosized metal oxides to make nanocomposite fibres (Ugbolue 2017).

Polyester or polypropylene fibres are mixed with neutral fibres to prepare hybrid fibres. Due to their better properties like lightweight, low cost, and easy processing, these fibres are advantageous. Some applications are as follows: in electric devices it is used for electrical appliances, pipes, etc.; in household, it is used for making table, shower, chair, bath units, etc.; in building and construction industry, it is used for making partition boards, floor, panels for partition and false ceiling, roof tiles, window and door frames, wall, etc.; in everyday applications, it is used to make suitcases, lampshades, helmets, etc.; in transportation industry, it is used for making boat, automobile and railway coach interior, gears, etc.; and in storage devices, it is used for making biogas containers, postboxes, grain storage silos, etc. (Sathishkumar et al. 2014). Mechanical strength of polypropylene is not good enough for engineering plastics that can be enhanced by mixing with multiwalled nanotubes (MWNTs) (Li 2017).

Polymers (polyamide, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyarylacetylene) embedded with nanoclays, montmorillonite, organically modified montmorillonite, Fe2O3 particles, carbon nano tube (CNT), single-walled nanotubes, multiwalled nanotubes, nano carbon fibre, nanoparticles of SiO2 and SiC to make nanocomposite hybrid fibres and have applications in medical field for the cure of wounds and burns of a humanoid skin, and also used to designed hemostatic procedures and devices with specific features. These biodegradable polymers fibres can directly be sprayed/spun on to the injured area of the skin to form a fibrous mat dressing, which can help the wounds to heal quickly and reduce the formation of scar tissue.

Moreover, these hybrid nanofibres can also be used in pulp and paper industry for making high-value printing and barrier packaging (Kamel 2007); in military protective clothing for minimal impedance to air, efficiency in trapping aerosol particles, and anti-biochemical gases; in filter media for liquid filtration, gas filtration, and molecule filtration; in nano-sensors for thermal sensor, piezoelectric sensor, biochemical sensor, and fluorescence optical chemical sensor; in tissue engineering scaffolding for porous membrane for skin, tubular shapes for blood vessels and nerve regenerations, and three-dimensional scaffolds for bone and cartilage regenerations; and in other industrial applications for micro-/nanoelectronic devices, electrostatic dissipation, electromagnetic interference shielding, photovoltaic devices (nano-solar cell), LCD devices, ultra-lightweight spacecraft materials, and higher efficient and functional catalysts (Saba et al. 2014).

Polyester fibre is an environmental friendly product that does not generate harmful gases such as dioxin or furan when burning. Moreover, the high mechanical strength, high quality, and good durability make polyester fibre ideal for high-stress outdoor uses. It is also hydrophobic in nature, wrinkle-free, and strain-resistant. It is used in the manufacturing of all kinds of clothes like pants, tops, skirts, and suits; in home furnishings such as bedspreads, sheets, pillows, furniture, carpets, and curtains; and for ropes, thread, hoses, sails, floppy disk liners, power belting, etc. Additionally, by making hollow polyester fibres, it is also possible to make insulation into the polyester fibre. The body is kept warm in winter season; when air is trapped inside these hollow fibres, it is warmed by the body heat (Khoddami et al. 2009). The polyester composite materials with natural fibres have high strength, high stiffness, high corrosion resistance, and lightweight and find its applications in construction, marine, electrical, household appliances, sporting goods, etc. (Athijayamani et al. 2010). Also polyester with natural fibre (kenaf, hemp, flax, jute, and sisal)-based nanocomposite are finding applications in automobile industries due to the following advantages, i.e., reductions in weight, cost, and CO2 emission (Holbery and H 2006).

Polyacrylonitrile fibre (PAN), more commonly known as acrylic fibre, has high resistance to UV degradation and also against the damage from mold, mildew, and microorganisms. It has major applications in the production of sweaters, knits, hosiery, apparels, rugs, and blankets, in which wool was the first choice. The acrylic fibre also finds its utility as primary precursor for the development of high-quality carbon fibres (Gupta and Afshari 2009). Moreover, acrylic fibres also doped with silver nanoparticles for antimicrobial properties (Hassan and K 2018).

High molecular weight polyamides are commonly known as nylon. Polyamide fibres have high strength, high toughness, and abrasion resistance which make it ideal for many military applications. Additionally, it has applications in stretch fabrics such as swimwear and in house furnishings like curtains and upholstery. Polyamide fibres have also been widely used in technical textiles especially vehicle tires, parachutes, nets, and tents (Gong et al. 2018).

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation and Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR)ChandigarhIndia

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