Role of Molecular Entanglements in Starch Fiber Formation by Electrospinning
We have demonstrated a method of fabricating pure starch fibers with an average diameter in the order of micrometers. In the present study, correlation between the rheological properties of starch dispersions and the electro-spinnability was attempted via the extrapolation of the critical entanglement concentration, which is the boundary between the semidilute unentangled regime and the semidilute entangled regime. Dispersions of high amylose starch containing nominally 80% amylose (Gelose 80) required 1.2-2.7 times the entanglement concentration for effective electrospinning. Besides starch concentration, molecular conformation, and shear viscosity were also of importance in determining the electrospinnability. The rheological properties and electrospinnability of different starches were studied. Hylon VII and Hylon V starches, containing nominally 70 and 50% amylose, respectively, required concentrations of 1.9 and 3.7 times their entanglement concentrations for electrospinning. Only poor fibers were obtained from mung bean starch, which contains about 35% amylose, while starches with even lower amylose contents could not be electrospun.