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1. (WO2018224723) A METHOD AND A DEVICE FOR FORMING A DROPLET OR DROPLETS ONTO A FIBRE
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Claims:

1 . A method for forming at least a first primary droplet (151 ) onto a primary fibre (100), the method comprising

- arranging a part of the primary fibre (100) into a reserve (205) of liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) such that that the primary fibre (100) extends through the reserve (205) and on both sides of the reserve (205), and thereafter

- during a first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving the primary fibre (100) and/or the reserve (205) relative to each other such that a first part (1 1 1 ) of the primary fibre (100) moves out from the reserve (205) with a first primary velocity (vi,i), thereby forming a first primary layer (21 1 ) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) onto the first part (1 1 1 ) of the primary fibre (100), and thereafter

- during a first secondary period of time (Ti,2), allowing the first primary layer (21 1 ) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) to form a first primary droplet (151 ) onto the primary fibre (100) by

o holding still the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) or o moving the primary fibre (100) and/or the reserve (205) relative to each other with a first secondary velocity (vi,2) that is less than the first primary velocity (vi,i).

2. The method of claim 1 , comprising

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) in a direction that has a component that is parallel to the length of the primary fibre (100), the method comprising

- during a second primary period of time (Ϊ2,ι), moving the primary fibre (100) and/or the reserve (205) relative to each other such that a second part (1 12) of the primary fibre (100) moves out from the reserve (205) with a second primary velocity (V2,i), thereby forming a second primary layer

(212) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) onto the second part (1 12) of the primary fibre (100),

- during a second secondary period of time (Ϊ2.2), allowing the second layer (212) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) to form a second primary droplet (152) onto the primary fibre (100) by

o holding still the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) or o moving the primary fibre (100) and/or the reserve (205) with a second secondary velocity (V2,2) that is less than the second primary velocity (V2,i);

preferably, the method comprises

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) in a direction that is parallel to the length of the primary fibre (100).

3. The method of the claim 1 or 2, comprising during the first primary period of time (Ti,i),

- moving the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) in a direction that has a component that is perpendicular to the length of the primary fibre (100), and

- at least a second part (112) of the primary fibre (100) is arranged in another reserve (207, 209) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) or in another reserve (405, 407, 409) of other liquid or viscous polymer based material (400) such that

- the primary fibre (100) penetrates through the other reserve (207, 209, 405, 407, 409) and extends on both sides of the other reserve (207, 209, 405, 407, 409).

4. The method of any of the claims 1 to 3, comprising

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) in a direction that has a component that is perpendicular to the length of the primary fibre (100), the method comprising

- selecting the size of the reserve (205) in such a way that during the first secondary period of time (Ti,2), only one first primary droplet (151 ) forms onto the primary fibre (100);

preferably, the method comprises

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) in a direction that is perpendicular to the length of the primary fibre (100).

5. The method of any of the claims 1 to 4, comprising

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving the primary fibre (100) relative to the reserve (205) in a direction that has a component that is parallel to the length of the primary fibre (100), the method comprising

- selecting the first primary velocity (vi,i) and/or the duration of the first primary period of time (Ti,i) in such a way that during the first secondary period of time (Ti,2), only one first primary droplet (151 ) forms onto the primary fibre (100).

6. The method of any of the claims 1 to 5, wherein

- the reserve (205) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) is arranged on a substrate (600).

7. The method of any of the claiml to 6, wherein

- the reserve (205) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) is arranged in an aperture (610) or a slit (612) of a substrate (600).

8. The method of any of the claims 1 to 7, wherein

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), the primary fibre (100) is held from a first point (P1 ) and a second point (P2) such that the reserve (205) is arranged in between the first point (P1 ) and the second point (P2).

9. The method of any of the claims 1 to 8, wherein

- an equivalent diameter (d) of the primary fibre (100) is from 1 μηη to 500 μηη; preferably from 3 μηη to 200 μηη.

10. The method of any of the claims 1 to 9, wherein

- the primary fibre (100) is a natural fibre or the primary fibre (100) has been produced artificially.

1 1 . The method of claim 10, wherein

- the primary fibre (100) comprises at least one of

• a metal, e.g. steel,

· carbon,

• glass,

• a semi-synthetic material, e.g. regenerated cellulose, and

• a synthetic chemical based material such as a polymer, such as a

polymer selected from the group comprising aramid, polypropylene, polyamide, and polyethylene terephthalate.

12. The method of claim any of the claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein

- the primary fibre (100) is made from one of

• a metal, e.g. steel,

• carbon,

· glass,

• a semi-synthetic material, e.g. regenerated cellulose, and

• a synthetic chemical based material such as a polymer, such as a

polymer selected from the group comprising aramid, polypropylene, polyamide, and polyethylene terephthalate.

13. The method of any of the claims 1 to 12, wherein

- the primary fibre (100) is one of a wood fiber, e.g. a bamboo fiber, a vegetable fiber, e.g. cotton fiber or a flax fiber, a biological fiber, e.g. spider silk or human hair, or a mineral fiber, e.g. a basalt fibre.

14. The method of any of the claims 1 to 13, wherein

- a ratio (l/d) of the length (I) of the primary fibre (100) to the equivalent diameter (d) of the primary fibre (100) is at least 100; preferably the ratio (l/d) is at least 1000.

15. The method of any of the claims 1 to 14, wherein

- the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) comprises at least one of o uncured thermoset polymer,

o molten thermoplastic polymer, and

o polymer dissolved in a solvent.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein

- the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) comprises resin, such as natural or synthetic resin, such as at least one of epoxy resin, polyester resin, phenol formaldehyde resin, acetal resin, and melamine resin.

17. The method of any of the claims 1 to 16, wherein

- the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) is solidifiable by using external energy, such as heat and/or ultraviolet radiation.

18. The method of any of the claims 1 to 17, wherein

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), the viscosity of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) is in the range from 250 mPas to 50000 mPas, such as from 500 mPas to 10000 mPas as measured according to the standard EN ISO 2555:1999;

preferably,

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), at least some of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) is arranged at a temperature from 4 °C to 400 °C and the viscosity of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) is in the aforementioned range at the temperature.

19. The method of any of the claims 1 to 18, wherein

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), density (p) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) is in the range from 0.7 g/cm3 to 3 g/cm3.

20. The method of any of the claims 2 to 19, wherein

- a distance (di2) between the first primary droplet (151 ) and the second primary droplet (152) is at least 10 μηη.

21 . The method of any of the claims 1 to 20, wherein

- a diameter (dd) of the first primary droplet (151 ) is from 5 μιτι to 500 μιτι, such as from 10 μιτι to 150 μιτι.

22. The method of any of the claims 1 to 21 , wherein

- a duration of the first primary period of time (Ti,i) is at least 100 ms.

23. The method of any of the claims 1 to 22, wherein

- the first primary velocity (vi,i) is at least 0.5 mm/s, such as from 0.5 mm/s to 50 mm/s.

24. The method of any of the claims 1 to 23, wherein

- a length (I211) of the first primary layer (21 1 ) is at least 10 μητι, such as from 30 μηη to 500 μητι, such as from 100 μηη to 500 μηη; such as from 150 μηη to 250 μηη.

25. The method of any of the claims 1 to 24, wherein

a duration of the first secondary period of time (Ti,2) is at least 100 ms.

26. The method of any of the claims 1 to 25, wherein

- the first secondary velocity (vi ,2) is at most 10 mm/s.

27. The method of any of the claims 1 to 26, wherein

- a diameter (dd) of the first primary droplet (151 ) is from 2 μιτι to 500 μιτι larger than an equivalent diameter (d) of the primary fibre (100).

28. The method of any of the claims 1 to 27, comprising

- heating at least one of

o the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200),

o the substrate (600), and

o a substrate holder (520)

for keeping the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) in the liquid or viscous state;

preferably also

- the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) comprises

thermoplastic material.

29. The method of any of the claims 2 to 28, comprising

- during a third primary period of time (T3,i ), moving the primary fibre (100) and/or the reserve (205) relative to each other such that a third part (1 13) of the primary fibre (100) moves out from reserve (205) with a third primary velocity (V3,i ), thereby forming a third primary layer (213) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) onto the third part (1 13) of the primary fibre (100),

- during a third secondary period of time 0~3,2), allowing the third primary layer (213) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) to form a third primary droplet (153) onto the primary fibre (100) by

o holding still the primary fibre (100) relative to reserve (205) or

o moving the primary fibre (100) and/or the reserve (205) relative to

each other with a third secondary velocity (V3,2) that is less than the third primary velocity (V3,i ).

30. The method of any of the claims 1 to 29, comprising

- arranging at least part of a secondary fibre (300) into [A] another reserve (207, 405) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) or other liquid or viscous polymer based material (400) or [B] the reserve (205), - during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving [i] the secondary fibre (300) and/or [ii,a] the other reserve (207, 405) or [ii,b] the reserve (205) relative to each other such that a first part (31 1 ) of the secondary fibre (300) moves out from the other reserve (207, 405) or the reserve (205) with the first primary velocity (vi,i), thereby forming a first secondary layer (41 1 ) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (400, 200) surrounding the secondary fibre (300) onto the first part (31 1 ) of the secondary fibre (300),

- during the first secondary period of time (Ti,2), allowing the first secondary layer (41 1 ) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (400, 200) surrounding the secondary fibre (300) to form a first secondary droplet

(351 ) onto the secondary fibre (300) by

o holding still [i] the secondary fibre (300) relative to [ii,a] the other reserve (207, 405) or [ii,b] the reserve (205) or

o moving [i] the secondary fibre (300) and/or [ii,a] the other reserve (207, 405) or [ii,b] the reserve (205) relative to each other with the first secondary velocity (vi,2) that is less than the first primary velocity (vi,i).

31 . The method of claim 30, comprising

- during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), moving the secondary fibre (300) relative to the reserve (205) or the other reserve (207, 405) in a direction that has a component that is parallel to the length of the secondary fibre (100), the method comprising

- during a second primary period of time (T2,i), moving [i] the secondary fibre (300) and/or [ii,a] the other reserve (207, 405) or [ii,b] the reserve

(205) relative to each other such that a second part (312) of the secondary fibre (300) moves out from the other reserve (207, 405) or the reserve (205) with a second primary velocity (V2,i), thereby forming a second secondary layer (412) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (400, 200) surrounding the secondary fibre (300) onto the second part (312) of the secondary fibre (300),

- during a second secondary period of time (Ϊ2,2), allowing the second secondary layer (412) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (400, 200) surrounding the secondary fibre (300) to form a second secondary droplet (352) onto the secondary fibre (300) by

o holding still the [i] secondary fibre (300) relative to [ii,a] the other reserve (207, 405) or [ii,b] the reserve (205) or

o moving [i] the secondary fibre (300) and/or [ii,a] the other reserve (207, 405) or [ii,b] the reserve (205) relative to each other with a second secondary velocity (V2,2) that is less than the second primary velocity (V2,i).

32. The method of the claim 30 or 31 , comprising during the first primary period of time (Ti,i),

- moving the secondary fibre (300) relative to the reserve (205) or the other reserve (207, 405) in a direction that has a component that is perpendicular to the length of the secondary fibre (100),

- another part (312, 313) of the secondary fibre (300) is arranged in further reserve (207, 209) of the liquid or viscous polymer based material (200) or in another reserve (405, 407, 409) of the other liquid or viscous polymer based material (400) such that

- the secondary fibre (300) penetrates through the further reserve (207, 209, 405, 407, 409) and extends on both sides of the further reserve (207, 209, 405, 407, 409).

33. The method of any of the claims 1 to 32, wherein

- a part of the primary fibre (100) is arranged into the reserve (205) such that that the primary fibre (100) extends through the reserve (205) and on both sides of the reserve (205) by

- moving the primary fibre (100) in a direction that has a component that is perpendicular to the first primary velocity (vi,i).

34. A method for forming at least a first primary solid droplet (161 ) onto a primary fibre (100), the method comprising

- forming a least a droplet (151 ) onto the primary fibre (100) according to a method of any of the claims 1 to 34, and

- solidifying the first primary droplet (151 ) or allowing the first primary

droplet (151 ) to solidify to form a first primary solid droplet (161 ).

35. The method of claim 34, wherein

- a diameter (dd) of the first primary solidified droplet (161 ) is from 2 μιτι to 500 μιτι more than an equivalent diameter (d) of the primary fibre (100).

36. A device (500) for forming at least a first primary droplet (151 ) onto a primary fibre (100), the device (500) comprising

- a first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) for holding the primary fibre (100) from a first point (P1 ),

- a second primary fibre holder (512) for holding the primary fibre (100) from a second point (P2),

- a substrate holder (520) for holding a substrate (600) for liquid or viscous polymer based material,

- an actuator arrangement (550) configured to move the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) in a first direction (dirl ),

- a focusing apparatus (555) for moving the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) in a second direction (dir2), the second direction (dir2) having a component that is perpendicular to the first direction (dirl ), and

- a control unit (560) configured to control the actuator arrangement (550), wherein

- the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured

o during a first primary period of time (Ti,i), to move the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) in the first direction (dirl ) with a first primary velocity (vi,i), and

o during a first secondary period of time (Ti,2), to

· hold still the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) or

• move the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second

primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) with a first secondary velocity (vi,2) that is less than the first primary velocity (vi,i).

37. The device (500) of claim 36, wherein the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured

- during a second primary period of time (T2,i ), to move the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) with a second primary velocity (V2,i ), and

- during a second secondary period of time 0~2,2), to

o hold still the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) or o move the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) with a second secondary velocity (V2,2) that is less than the second primary velocity (V2,i ).

38. The device (500) of claim 36 or 37, comprising

- a substrate (600) for holding liquid or viscous polymer based material.

39. The device (500) of claim 38, wherein

- the substrate (600) limits an aperture (610) or a slit (612) for receiving the liquid or viscous polymer based material.

40. The device (500) of claim 38 or 39, wherein

- the substrate (600) comprises a blind hole (602) for receiving the liquid or viscous polymer based material.

41 . The device (500) of any of the claims 36 to 40, comprising

- an injector (570) for injecting liquid or viscous polymer based material; preferably,

- the injector (570) is configured to inject liquid or viscous polymer based material onto the substrate (600) or into a blind hole (602), an aperture (610), or a slit (612) of a substrate (600).

42. The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 41 , wherein

- the first primary holder (51 1 ) is configured to hold a primary fibre (100) having a width (w1 , w2) of from 1 μιτι to 1 mm, such as from 5 μιτι to 100 pm.

43. The device (500) of any of the claims 36 to 42, comprising

- a first secondary fibre holder (531 ) for holding a secondary fibre (300) and

- a second secondary fibre holder (532) for holding a secondary fibre (300), wherein

- the control unit (560) and the actuator (550) are, in combination, configured

o during the first primary period of time (Ti,i), to move the first

secondary fibre holder (531 ) and the second secondary fibre holder (532) relative to the substrate holder (520) with the first primary velocity (vi,i), and

o during the first secondary period of time (Ti,2), to

• hold still the first secondary fibre holder (531 ) and the

second secondary fibre holder (532) relative to the substrate holder (520) or

• move the first secondary fibre holder (531 ) and the second secondary fibre holder (532) relative to the substrate holder (520) with a first secondary velocity (vi,2) that is less than the first primary velocity (vi,i).

44. The device (500) of the claim 43, wherein

- the first secondary fibre holder (531 ) is configured to hold a secondary fibre (300) from a first end of the secondary fibre (300) and

- the second secondary fibre holder (532) is configured to hold the

secondary fibre (300) from a second end of the secondary fibre (300).

45. The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 44, comprising

- a solidifier (580) for solidifying a droplet (151 , 152) to form a solid

droplet (161 , 162);

preferably

- the solidifier (580) comprises at least one of a cooler, a heat source, and an UV source.

46. The device (500) of any of the claims 36 to 45, wherein the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured

- during a third primary period of time (Ϊ3,ι), to move the first primary holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the secondary holder (520) with a third primary velocity (V3,i), and

- during a third secondary period of time (Ϊ3,2), to

o hold still the first primary holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the secondary holder (520) or

o move the first primary holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the secondary holder (520) with a third secondary velocity (V3,2) that is less than the third primary velocity (V3,1 ).

47. The device (500) of any of the claims 36 to 46, comprising

- a heater (522) configured to heat at least one of

o the liquid or viscous polymer based material,

o the substrate (600), and

o the substrate holder (520).

48. The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 47, wherein the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured such that

- a duration of the first primary period of time (Ti,i) is at least 100 ms.

49. The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 48, wherein the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured such that

- the first primary velocity (vi ,i ) is at least 0.5 mm/s, such as from 0.5 mm/s to 50 mm/s.

50. The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 49, wherein the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured such that

- a duration of the first secondary period of time (Ti,2) is at least 100 ms.

51 . The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 50, wherein the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured such that

- the first secondary velocity (vi ,2) is at most 10 mm/s.

52. The device (500) of the any of the claims 37 to 51 , wherein [A] the substrate (600) or [B] the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550), in combination, is/are configured such that

- a first distance (di2) of at least 10 μηη is left in between a first droplet

(151 ) and a second droplet (152) formed on the primary fibre (100).

53. The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 52, wherein the control unit (560) and the actuator arrangement (550) are, in combination, configured such that

- during the first primary period of time (Ti ,i ), the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) move a second distance relative to the substrate holder (520), wherein

- the second distance is at least 10 μητι, such as from 30 μηη to 500 μητι, such as from 100 μηη to 500 μηη; such as from 150 μηη to 250 μηη.

54. The device (500) of the any of the claims 36 to 53, wherein

- the focusing apparatus (555) is configured to move the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) in a second direction (dir2), the second direction (dir2) having a component that is perpendicular to the first direction (dirl ).

55. The device (500) of the claim 54, wherein

- the focusing apparatus (555) is configured to move the first primary fibre holder (51 1 ) and the second primary fibre holder (512) relative to the substrate holder (520) in a third direction (dir3), the third direction (dir3) having a component that is perpendicular to the first direction (dirl ) and to the second direction (dir2).