Bicomponent spinning of biodegradable polymers: Melt-spun PHBV micro fibers

Erdogan U. H., Selli F.

38th International Conference of the Polymer Processing Society (PPS38), Sankt Gallen, Switzerland, 22 - 26 May 2023, vol.38, pp.80

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 38
  • City: Sankt Gallen
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Page Numbers: pp.80
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Biodegradable polymers have gained lots of interest and publicity. However, narrow processing window limits the application of such novel polymers. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are member of biodegradable thermoplastic polyesters, biologically derived by bacterial fermentation. These biodegradable, compostable and biocompatible polymers are of great interest in the production of medical textiles, disposable materials and packaging. Slow crystallization rate and low thermal stability of PHAs limits the melt spinning of fibers and results in inadequate mechanical properties. Among PHAs, poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)-co-(3-hydroxyvalerate) PHBV is more flexible and easier to process due to lower crystallinity. Therefore, in this study, we have used bicomponent spinning method to produce melt-spun PHBV fibers. As a semi-crystalline polymer with slow crsytallization rate and low thermal stability, PHBV remains tacky during drawing in the spinline that hinders the spinnability. A very important advantage of the bicomponent spinning is that it could help a material that could not be spun into a fiber single form. For this study, the two polymers coaxially combined in a spinneret for bicomponent multifilament with core/sheath-geometry. The co-extrusion of a PHBV core and a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) sheath having a higher thermal stability and faster crystallization enabled the stable winding of filaments. Following the filament production, the filaments were soaked in distilled water to remove PVA sheath and PHBV micro fibers were obtained. Thermal analysis obtained revealed that the complete removal of PVA was possible. Microscopic analysis showed that PHBV microfilaments (single filament diameter < 7 µm) have been successfully melt-spun.