What is Nanofiber?

What is Nanofiber?

Nanofiber is one of the main material components in ORA’s Filters and is hugely responsible for the over 99% particle filter efficiency that ORA masks achieve. But exactly what is Nanofiber, how are they made, and what are more applications of this new and exciting technology? Let’s dive into it. 

 

What is a Nanofiber?

 

By definition, a nanofiber is a fiber which has a diameter in the nanometer range- essentially a really, really thin fiber. But how thin are we talking? For those who don’t know, one nanometer is one billionth of one a meter. Nanofibers can be made from essentially two types of material: synthetic and biological.

 

Examples of synthetic materials that can be turned into nanofibers are:

  • Nylon
  • Acrylic
  • Polycarbonates
  • Fluropolymers 

Examples of biological materials that can be turned into nanofibers are:

  • Chitosan (sugar obtained from shellfish)
  • Polylactic acid (starches, tapioca roots, sugarcane)
  • Polycaprolactone (a biodegradable nylon made from microorganisms)

So now that we’ve talked about what a Nanofiber is and known materials that can be turned into Nanofiber, let’s explore how they’re made. 


How Are Nanofibers Made?

 

The main method of producing nanofibers is through a process called electrospinning which we’ll dig deeper into another time. However we’re going to try to break down as simply as possible: 


Imagine a syringe full of a liquid that’s hooked up to a lot of batteries which add an electric charge to the liquid. As the syringe is pushed, the liquid shoots out in a jet stream but as it shoots through the air, the electric charge causes a reaction in the liquid which turns the liquid into a solid fiber. Now instead of a straight-line stream, imagine the stream is spinning in a conical form. The fiber is then caught on a plate that is perpendicular to the stream which weaves the fiber into a pattern. That’s electrospinning as simply as we can put it.


Electrospinning is extremely cost effective and thus makes Nanofiber directly in competition with melt-blown thermoplastics.  New Zealand-based Revolutionary Fibres states:


“Historically, nanofibers were not able to be produced in large enough volumes and at a low enough cost to be commercially viable. Especially when competing with existing alternatives such as melt-blowing. Worldwide, the nanofiber market is continuing to grow. Recent technology advancements mean that production rates of (electrospun nanofibers) are close to that of the conventional (melt-blowing process.)”

 

NanoFiber Applications

 

Although there aren’t many people who have heard of what NanoFibers are, a lot of research and development has been done with NanoFibers that have yielded many applications for this technology. 


The International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) of the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan has created a NanoFiber Mesh that has been successfully applied in kidney dialysis treatments. What makes this extremely significant is that these nanofiber meshes are a fraction of the price of what a dialysis machine would cost.


Other applications of this technology include: 

  • Wound Dressing
  • IVF Treatment
  • Water Filtration
  • ORa NanoFiber Filters 

NanoFiber is Exciting Tech! 

 

With multiple known applications and exponentially more potential applications, NanoFiber is a new technology that provides more cost efficient alternatives to many developed systems like using NanoFiber Mesh used instead of expensive dialysis machines. 

 

For us here at ORÅ, the most exciting aspect about NanoFibers is that they can be made from biological polymers which means Nanofiber plays a critical role in the rise of more biodegradable and greener technologies. ORÅ aims to be anywhere “eco-friendly” meets “technology” so be on the lookout for more NanoFiber applied products!


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