Nanofiber: Future prospects:
Nanofibers can be described as specially designed fibers whose diameters are less than 100 nanometers. Although in terms of textile industry, this definition includs fibers as large as 1000 nm diameter. They are mainly synthesized by different technology like interfacial polymerization, antisolvent-induced polymer precipitation, melt processing, electrospinning, and electrostatic spinning. Carbon nanofibers are special type of graphitized fibers that are synthesized by special catalytic synthesis.
Fig 1: SEM image of nanofibers.
Inorganic nanofibers could be synthesized from various kinds of inorganic materials by different techniques. The most commonly used materials used for synthesis of nanofibres are zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), titanium dioxide (TiO2), silicon dioxide (SiO2), lithium titanate (Li4Ti5O12), titanium nitride (TiN) and platinum (Pt).
Nanofibers have several applications in pharmaceutical industry like medicine, tissue engineering, and manufacturing of artificial organ components, implant material, drug delivery,wound dressing, and medical textile materials.
The followings are some important features in nanotechnology application
1. The nanotechnology researchers are investigating to develop special nanofiber meshes that could be used to fight against the HIV-1 virus, and may be utilized as a mode of contraception.
2. In case of wound healing, nanofibers work at the injury site and pulling out the body's own growth factors into the injury site.
3. Protective materials can be manufactured by using nanofibre technology .There are many examples of nanofibres are reported such as sound absorption materials, protective clothing against chemical, biological warfare agents, and as well as different kind of sensor applications for detecting chemical agents. In addition, nanofibers have also been utilized in pigments for cosmetics.
4. In upcoming future nanofibres have several applications in the textile industry such as sport apparel, sport shoes, special rainwear, outerwear garments, baby diapers etc. Nanofibres based napkins can be prepared containing antibodies against numerous toxic chemicals that will be detected by changing color (potentially useful in identifying bacteria in kitchens).
5.Filtration system based on nanofibre applications include fuel filters for automobile ,HVAC system filters, HEPA, ULPA filters, pharmacy, air, oil, filters for beverage, medical applications, filter media for new air and liquid filtration applications, such as vacuum cleaners.
Li-ion batteries, photovoltaic cells, membrane fuel cells, and dye-sensitized solar cells based energy applications are based on nanowire technology. Other applications includes micropower to operate different electronic devices via special piezoelectric nanofibers woven into clothing, carrier materials for various modern catalysts, and different photocatalytic materials for air and water purification.