M. Bambo, K. Sikhwivhilu, R. Krause, R. Moutloali
Keywords: hybrid, PVDF, nanofibers, composites
Summary:In this work, PVDF nanofibers with organoclay-Cu nanoparticles were fabricated by the electrospinning process. This process is influenced by a number of factors such as the solution and process parameters [1, 2]. Additionally, the humidity and temperature of the surrounding are found to be important in determining the morphology and the diameter of the nanofibers . Addition of fillers such as metal nanoparticles into the polymer solutions resulted in enhanced mechanical, photocatalytic, electrical, thermal and optical properties of the nanofibers [4-6]. Recently, the use of nanoclay and carbon nanotubes as additives have been extensively studied focusing on the crystal polymorphism and morphology of the resultant PVDF polymer [7-8]. Even though some improvements on the physical and mechanical properties of the nanofibers have been shown; an extension to these properties is desirable to further improve and also extend their application while maintaining good chemical and mechanical properties afforded to the nanofibers. The effect of organoclay-Cu nanoparticles hybrid on the morphology and diameter of the electrospun PVDF nanofiber composites has been investigated. The results indicated that an increase in the amount of organoclay with smaller Cu nanoparticles hybrid resulted in an increased fiber diameter and segregated morphology. The diameter of the nanofibers ranged between 50 and 300 nm, as revealed by scanning electron microscopy. Additionally, good dispersion of the organoclay-Cu nanoparticles within the nanofibers was observed, however, with a small amount of aggregation. Moreover, the antibacterial properties of the nanofiber composites were studied against two gram negative bacteria, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the results indicated the PVDF nanofibers containing organoclay-copper nanoparticles to have good antibacterial properties as compared to PVDF nanofiber control.