Modeling Nanoparticle Dispersion in Electrospun Nanofibers

Christopher Balzer, Mitchell Armstrong, Bohan Shan, Yingjie Huang, Jichang Liu, Bin Mu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The quality of nanoparticle dispersion in a polymer matrix significantly influences the macroscopic properties of the composite material. Like general polymer-nanoparticle composites, electrospun nanofiber nanoparticle composites do not have an adopted quantitative model for dispersion throughout the polymer matrix, often relying on a qualitative assessment. Being such an influential property, quantifying dispersion is essential for the process of optimization and understanding the factors influencing dispersion. Here, a simulation model was developed to quantify the effects of nanoparticle volume loading (φ) and fiber-to-particle diameter ratios (D/d) on the dispersion in an electrospun nanofiber based on the interparticle distance. A dispersion factor is defined to quantify the dispersion along the polymer fiber. In the dilute regime (φ < 20%), three distinct regions of the dispersion factor were defined with the highest quality dispersion shown to occur when geometric constraints limit fiber volume accessibility. This model serves as a standard for comparison for future experimental studies and dispersion models through its comparability with microscopy techniques and as a way to quantify and predict dispersion in electrospinning polymer-nanoparticle systems with a single performance metric.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1340-1346
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 30 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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