Characterization and modeling of direct-write fabrication of microscale polymer fibers

Scott M. Berry, Santosh Pabba, Jérôme Crest, Scott D. Cambron, Gareth H. McKinley, Robert W. Cohn, Robert S. Keynton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A new direct-write system for fabricating suspended microscale and sub-microscale polymer fibers has been developed and characterized. This system is capable of generating arrays of precisely-positioned fibers with controllable diameters in three-dimensional space. The driving mechanism behind this process harnesses the surface tension of liquid bridges to promote the controlled thinning of a macroscale polymer solution filament into the desired micro- or sub-microscale fiber. The correlation between fiber diameter and several experimental parameters including solution concentration, drawing rate, and fiber length was characterized using a series of viscous poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) solutions. A dimensional analysis of the physics of the fiber drawing process was used to adapt this data into an empirical relationship describing fiber formation from a generalized polymer solution. This information was subsequently utilized to predict fiber diameter from several other non-PMMA-based polymer solutions with accuracy comparable to the intrinsic variation of the process itself, thereby eliminating the need to perform lengthy characterizations on new polymer solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1654-1661
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 23 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This investigation was funded by National Science Foundation NIRT Program ( ECS-0506941 ), NSF PFI Program ( EEC-0438604 ), and " National Aeronautics and Space Administration cooperative agreement ( NCC5-571 ).


  • Direct-write
  • Elongational flow
  • Polymer microfibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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