Toray Industries Inc announced Jan 29, 2013, that it has developed the world's thinnest (150nm-diameter) nanofiber.
The company realized the thinness, which is half the diameter of the former world's thinnest nanofiber (300nm), by using a precision multi-component fiber spinning technique based on an ultrafine polymer flow control technology. The new nanofiber will be used for air filters in clean rooms in which semiconductor chips and glass plates of LCD panels are manufactured.
As the diameter of a nanofiber decreases, its surface area per unit mass increases, improving hygroscopic property, water retention and filtration and distillation performances. When used for air filters, the new nanofiber realizes a dust collection efficiency equivalent to or higher than that of an electrostatic filter, which is a high-performance filter, without applying back-end processes such as electrostatic treatment.
It is possible to use the nanofiber as a continuous fiber of fabric as well as to cut it to any length for making a nonwoven cloth. Because the diameter of the nanofiber can be uniform, products with stable qualities can be manufactured.
The nanofiber does not increase manufacturing costs much because it requires mainly the improvement of the connector parts of volume production equipment, Toray said. But the company has not yet decided the price of the nanofiber. It aims to start volume production of the new nanofiber within a few years.