Meltblowing: I-basic physical mechanisms and threadline model
Yarin, Alexander L.
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics
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The work aims at the experimental and theoretical study of the mechanism of meltblowing. Meltblowing is a popular method of producing polymer microfibers and nanofibers en masse in the form of nonwovens via aerodynamic blowing of polymer melt jets. However, its physical aspects are still not fully understood. The process involves a complex interplay of the aerodynamics of turbulent gas jets with strong elongational flows of polymer melts, none of them fully uncovered and explained. To evaluate the role of turbulent pulsations (produced by turbulent eddies in the gas jet) in meltblowing, we studied first a model experimental situation where solid flexible sewing threadlines were subjected to parallel high speed gas jet. After that a comprehensive theory of meltblowing is developed, which encompasses the effects of the distributed drag and lift forces, as well as turbulent pulsations acting on polymer jets, which undergo, as a result, severe bending instability leading to strong stretching and thinning. Linearized theory of bending perturbation propagation over threadlines and polymer jets in meltblowing is given and some successful comparisons with the experimental data are demonstrated. (C) 2010 American Institute of Physics. [doi: 10.1063/1.3457891]