Research ArticleAPPLIED SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING

Continuous fiberizing by laser melting (Cofiblas): Production of highly flexible glass nanofibers with effectively unlimited length

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Science Advances  07 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 6, eaax7210
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax7210

Abstract

The development of nanofibers is expected to foster the creation of outstanding lightweight nanocomposites and flexible and transparent composites for applications such as optoelectronics. However, the reduced length of existing nanofibers and nanotubes limits mechanical strengthening and effective manufacturing. Here, we present an innovative method that produces glass nanofibers with lengths that are, effectively, unlimited by the process. The method uses a combination of a high-power laser with a supersonic gas jet. We describe the experimental setup and the physical processes involved, and, with the aid of a mathematical simulation, identify and discuss the key parameters which determine its distinctive features and feasibility. This method enabled the production of virtually unlimited long, solid, and nonporous glass nanofibers that display outstanding flexibility and could be separately arranged and weaved.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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