Design of an IGBT-Based Pulsed Power Supply for Non-continuous-mode Electrospinning
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Nanofibres are useful in a broad range of applications in areas such as medical science, food science, materials engineering, environmental engineering, and energy and electronics due to their outstanding characteristics: their small size, high surface-to-volume ratio, high porosity, and superior mechanical performance. Recently, controlled drug delivery systems have gained significant attention, especially with respect to the use of polymer nanofibres. For these systems, the ability to control of the length of the polymer nanofibre is important because the amount of drug released depends on the length of the fibre. Electrospinning is the simplest and most cost-effective method of fabricating polymer nanofibres. In the process, a high voltage is used to create an electrified jet which will eventually become a nanofibre. The electrified jet ejects when a high voltage is applied to the electrospinning setup. On the other hand, the jet does not eject when the applied voltage is below the threshold voltage. It is therefore possible to fabricate and chop nanofibres by controlling the values of the voltages applied and a special high-voltage pulsed power supply has been developed for this purpose. In this research, an IGBT-based pulsed power supply has been designed and built to be used for non-continuous-mode electrospinning. The IGBTs are connected in series to deliver high voltage pulse voltages to an electrospinning setup. The IGBT-based pulsed power supply is capable of producing controllable square pulses with a width of a few hundred microseconds to DC and amplitudes up to 10 kV. The technique of non-continuous-mode electrospinning was tested using the pulsed power supply designed in this work. The new system was able to fabricate and chop nanofibres with PEO and alginate/PEO solutions. It was concluded that the minimum pulse width that can initiate an electrified jet is approximately 80 ms for the parameters used in this study. A longer period produces a more constant jet during the pulse-on voltage when the duty ratio is the same value. It is also highly likely that a jet is always ejected during the pulse-on voltage when the duty ratio is more than 40 %.