Sub-ms dynamics of the instability onset of electrospinning
Electrospun polymer jets are imaged for the first time at an ultra-high rate of 10 000 frames per second, investigating the process dynamics, and the instability propagation velocity and displacement in space. The polymer concentration, applied voltage bias and needle–collector distance are systematically varied, and their influence on the instability propagation velocity and on the jet angular fluctuations is analyzed. This allows us to unveil the instability formation and cycling behavior, and its exponential growth at the onset, exhibiting radial growth rates of the order of 103 s−1. Allowing the conformation and evolution of polymeric solutions to be studied in depth, high-speed imaging at the sub-ms scale shows significant potential for improving the fundamental knowledge of electrified jets, leading to finely controllable bending and solution stretching in electrospinning, and consequently better designed nanofiber morphologies and structures.