A group of researchers from the Higher Technical School of Engineering at the University of Seville have obtained filaments and fibres from highly viscous liquids with technology that is usually used to produce drops. By means of their research, they have discovered the conditions necessary for the formation of filaments with thicknesses of less than 50 micrometres (as a reference the thickness of a human hair is about 150 micrometres).
The experts have discovered that there is a moment at which a polymer in liquid state – specifically one that has been worked from polyethylene glycol, which is widely used in industry – shows greater elasticity that, instead of breaking up and forming drops, the liquid experiences a stretching which causes filaments to be formed. The generation process for these filaments is controlled by parameters like the molecular weight of the polymer and its concentration on the liquid, as well as the pressure that is used in the device.
For this study, Flow Blurring technology was used. This technology, developed by the University of Seville professor Alfonso Gañán Calvo, is a highly efficient method for atomising liquid, called nebulisation.