Wetting behavior between electrospun nanofibrous networks and liquids is of critical importance in many applications including filtration and liquid-repellent textiles. The relationship between intrinsic nanofiber properties, including surface characteristics, and extrinsic nanofibrous network organization on resultant wetting characteristics of the nanofiber network is shown in this work. Novel 3D imaging exploiting focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy and cryo-scanning electron microscopy (cryo-SEM) highlights a wetting hierarchy that defines liquid interactions with the network. Specifically, small length scale partial wetting between individual electrospun nanofibers and low surface tension liquids, measured both using direct SEM visualization and a nano Wilhelmy balance approach, provides oleophobic surfaces due to the high porosity of electrospun nanofiber networks. These observations conform to a metastable Cassie-Baxter regime and are important in defining general rules for understanding the wetting behavior between fibrous solids and low surface tension liquids for omniphobic functionality.
- FIB-SEM tomography
- polymeric nanofiber