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CA/Fe3O4 composite nanofibers with different Fe3O4 nanoparticle loadings (0.2–2.5% wt/v) were fabricated. Fe3O4 NP loadings increase the solution viscosity, which prevents a continuous polymer solution jet and subsequent fiber formation. It can be seen from SEM images of CA and CA/Fe3O4 NFs (0.2–2.5 wt%) that the Fe3O4 NPs are well dispersed in the polymer matrix and the spinning conditions were successfully optimized to obtain smooth bead-free fibers. It is clear from Figure 3(a)3(g) that as the concentration of Fe3O4 NPs increased, the fabricated nanofiber diameter decreased. However, CA/Fe3O4 NFs with magnetite concentrations higher than 1% (wt/v) exhibit no further significant decrease in fiber diameter. These results can be explained by the competitive effects of increasing magnetite concentrations and the corresponding increase in conductivity and viscosity of the polymer solutions, as can be seen from Table 1. These results were confirmed by previous studies (Deitzel et al. 2001; Huang et al. 2003) which showed that an increase in fiber diameter is obtained by increasing the electrospun solution viscosity and a decrease in fiber diameter is observed by increasing the solution conductivity. Accordingly, these two effects seem to cancel each other out, with no great influence of the iron oxide content on the fiber size. Moreover, it was also observed that the viscosity value of CA/Fe3O4 (1.5% wt/v) substantially dropped, to 1181.3 (mPa.s), which is lower than the CA viscosity value itself. This result was also found by Tsioptsias and it was attributed to the hindrance of interaction between polymer molecules by Fe3O4 NPs (Tsioptsias et al. 2010).
Table 1

Conductivity and viscosity values of CA and CA/Fe3O4 polymeric solutions

SolutionConductivity (μS/cm)Viscosity (mPa.s)
CA (11 wt%) 4.8 404.9 
CA (13 wt%) 8.6 629.5 
CA (15 wt%) 11.5 1048.0 
CA/Fe3O4 (0.2% wt/v) 13.3 1054.6 
CA/Fe3O4 (0.5% wt/v) 27.1 16,861.1 
CA/Fe3O4 (1% wt/v) 35.8 1856.2 
CA/Fe3O4 (1.5% wt/v) 44.5 1181.3 
CA/Fe3O4 (2% wt/v) 47.1 2332.9 
CA/Fe3O4 (2.5% wt/v) 47.9 2387.7 
SolutionConductivity (μS/cm)Viscosity (mPa.s)
CA (11 wt%) 4.8 404.9 
CA (13 wt%) 8.6 629.5 
CA (15 wt%) 11.5 1048.0 
CA/Fe3O4 (0.2% wt/v) 13.3 1054.6 
CA/Fe3O4 (0.5% wt/v) 27.1 16,861.1 
CA/Fe3O4 (1% wt/v) 35.8 1856.2 
CA/Fe3O4 (1.5% wt/v) 44.5 1181.3 
CA/Fe3O4 (2% wt/v) 47.1 2332.9 
CA/Fe3O4 (2.5% wt/v) 47.9 2387.7 
Figure 3

SEM images of CA/Fe3O4 (0, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 wt/v) composite NFs: (a)–(g) respectively.

Figure 3

SEM images of CA/Fe3O4 (0, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 wt/v) composite NFs: (a)–(g) respectively.

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