Nanotechnologies are a hot new field in science and a growing area for commercial applications. They are technologies that work with matter at the level of atoms and molecules. Nanofibres are ultra-thin fibres, just 1 billionth of a metre wide - that's 100,000 times thinner than a human hair. They have long been at the centre of research at the Technical University in the northern Czech town of Liberec.
Filters made from nanofibres are extremely efficient because they have such tiny pores that no bacteria or viruses can pass through. Such materials can also be used to make protective garments and breathing masks. Nanofibres are also being used in tissue engineering and as wound dressings which efficiently protect for instance burns on the body.
Nanofibres are still waiting for their full potential to be discovered. But for that they first need to leave the laboratories. The team of professor Oldrich Jirsak have developed a technology that allows mass commercial production of nanofibres.
In 2004 Technical University in Liberec enters into an exclusive license agreement with Elmarco company and together introduce the first Nanospider prototype designed for water based polymers and an effective working width of 1,6 m. Nanospider technology is a patented, needle-free high voltage, free liquid surface electrospinning process. The technology is based upon the discovery, that it is possible to create Taylor Cones and the subsequent flow of material not only from the tip of a capillary, but also from a thin film of a polymer solution.
The technology enabled Elmarco to build industrial scale production equipment with out nozzles, needles or spinnerets. Nanospide technology allows the production of nanofibers from polymers solved in water, acids or bipolar solvents as well as from melted polymers and is suitable for the production of organic and inorganic fibers. This versatile technology is easily adapted to a variety of process parameters for the optimization of the specific properties of the produced nanofibres.