Nanofibres: Definition, Properties, Manufacturing and Uses

What is Nanofibre?
Nanofibres are extremely small; they vary in size from 1 micron to approximately 0.5 nanometres (<100 nm in diameter). They were pioneered by the aerospace industry, which places quite a premium on weight and space when planning space missions. Non-woven sheets can be produced via an electro spinning process that can draw on a variety of raw materials, such as carbon and ceramics. Tiny fibres are collected as non-woven sheets that can cover well, and they are combined with lightweight materials. Amazingly, a piece of fabric the size of a football pitch can be folded so that it is the size of a sugar lump! Also, Nano-fibres can be incorporated onto the surface of fabrics or added to yarns. Nanofibres can be produced with different techniques such as drawing, template synthesis, phase separation, self-assembly, and electrospinning.


Properties of Nanofibres:
Nanofibres are one-dimensional nanomaterials of fiber shape with a diameter in the range of tens to hundreds of nanometers. Nanofibres have unique properties in terms of high surface area–to–volume ratio, interconnected nanoporosity, and high mass transport properties. The properties of nanofibres could significantly influence the polymeric raw material. The properties of nanofibres make them versatile materials with applications across various fields, including electronics, healthcare, environmental protection, and materials science. Here are some key properties of nanofibres:

  1. Extremely Lightweight and Strong
  2. Fine, Smooth and Delicate
  3. Versatile—can incorporate different fibres and be engineered to suit various end uses
  4. Good covering power
  5. Large areas of fabric reduced to a small size
  6. Low density of nanofibres
  7. Large specific surface area of nanofibres
  8. Small pore size
  9. Flexibility is good
  10. High porosity – good breathability
  11. Excellent mechanical properties in proportion to weight
  12. Possibility to incorporate different additives.

Manufacturing of Nanufibers:
Nanofibres are produces from organic and inorganic polymers via electrospnning technology. There are various manufacturing processes for nanofibre production, which are shown as nanospinnings, CVD for carbon nanotubes, self-organization for natural nanofibres such as collagen nanofibres, grinding procedure for nanocellulose, and the processes for nanowires. Especially, electrospinning and melt air spinning are the fascinating procedures to produce nanofibers, because they can produce them relatively simply in an industrial scale.

The development of high-speed production systems of nanofibres expands their potential applications, which are oil-water separation, oil fence, flood protection, membrane distillation, water retaining in soil, air and water purification filters, acoustic insulation, protection against cold, snow shoveling, battery separator, flying carpet, superconducting fibers, scaffold for tissue engineering, cosmetics, disposable diaper, and so on.

Uses of Nanofibers:
Nanofiber has the potential applications in the fields of health and biomedical care (stimulation wear for healthcare, skin therapy, drug delivery system, tissue engineering, biosensor, cancer diagnosis etc.), energy and environment (hydrogen production, secondary battery, nano-solar battery, solar power station, superpower capacitor, filter for water production, high-efficiency catalysis, high-performance nanofilter for air, oil-water separation, membrane distillation, water retaining in soil, acoustic insulation, protection against cold, nanofilter in high temperature, etc.), and robot and information technology (high performance battery separator, high-performance secondary battery, electronic devices, organic EL, wearable electronics, mobile fuel cell, space elevator, space station, robot, smart fabrics, super safety wear, etc.).

Besides, nanofibres are used in seamless spray products, breathable membranes for clothing (e.g. sportswear), filters for industrial purposes, space mission fabrics.

Nanotechnology fibres have endless uses in our fast-growing, technological world; they are developed specially for performance and function.

Nanofibres are long polymeric filaments (fiber diameters of 50 to 500 nanometers are typical), which exhibits the ideal advantages in high porosity, high surface area, high encapsulation efficiency, and controllable morphology, high chemical and thermal stability. Nano-fibres exhibit remarkable versatility with applications in water filtration, biomedicine, materials reinforcement, flexible electronics, and environmental protection.


  1. Nanofibers and Nanotechnology in Textiles Edited by P. J. Brown and K. Stevens
  2. Nanofibers – Production, Properties and Functional Applications Edited by Tong Lin
  3. Fibres to Fabrics by Bev Ashford
  4. Innovative Food Processing Technologies by M. Maria Leena, K.S. Yoha, C. Anandharamakrishnan

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