Mechanism of Adhesion between Polymer Fibers at Nanoscale Contacts
Adhesive force exists between polymer nano/microfibers. An elaborate experiment was performed to investigate the adhesion between polymer nano/microfibers using a nanoforce tensile tester. Electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) fibers with diameters ranging from 0.4–2.2 μm were studied. The response of surface property of electrospun fiber to the environmental conditions was tracked by FTIR and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements. The effect of temperature on molecular orientation was examined by wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD). The adhesive force was found to increase with temperature and pull-off speed but insensitive to the change of relative humidity, and the abrupt increase of adhesion energy with temperature accompanied by a reduced molecular orientation in the amorphous part of fiber was observed. Results show that adhesion is mainly driven by van der Waals interactions between interdiffusion chain segments across the interface.