About 50 patents for electrospinning polymer melts and solutions have been filed in the past 60 years.
However, there is no known commercial process for electrospinning. The micro-fine fibers produced by
electrospinning randomly collect into thin non-woven fiber mats that behave like micro-porous membranes.
The goal of this program is to utilize electrospinning to produce seamless garments by integrating
advanced manufacturing with fiber electrospinning. This would introduce multi-functionality (flame,
chemical, environmental protection) by blending fibers into electrospinlaced layers in combination with
polymer coatings. The concept is premised on electrospinning fibers directly onto 3-D screen forms
obtained from 3-D whole body scanning.
Military applications for multifunctional fabrics warrant the investigation of novel textile
manufacturing technologies, such as electrospinning, which has the capability of lacing together
numerous types of polymers and fibers in a direct one step operation to produce ultrathin layers of
protection. These fibers are also expected to be excellent substrates for immobilized enzymes and
other catalyst systems to break down toxic chemicals. Recent results show that these fiber webs
are efficient aerosol filters.
Electrospinning also has potential for computer aided manufacturing of garments by simply
spraying fiber layers onto advanced 3-D forms generated from laser scanning. As the technique
matures, there is a broad range of opportunity for commercial applications on apparel -- outdoor