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Electrospinning of oriented and nonoriented ultrafine fibers of biopolymers

David Vu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Chitosan has long been known as a biocompatible and biodegradable material suitable for tissue engineering applications. Unfortunately, conventional chitosan solutions cannot be used for electrospinning due to their high conductivity, viscosity and surface tension. We have developed a method to produce clear chitosan solutions with conductivities, surface tension and viscosities that facilitate their processing into micron and submicron fibers via electrospinning. Acetic acid, carbon dioxide and organic solvents are key ingredients in preparing the chitosan solutions. Oriented and non oriented chitosan fibers were produced with the ultimate goal of designing a suitable tissue engineering scaffold. Circularly oriented, continuous, and aligned nanofibers were produced via this technique in the form of a thin membrane or fibrous "mat". Chitosan fiber diameters ranged from 5 micrometers down to 100 nanometers. The structure and mechanical properties of oriented and randomly aligned chitosan fiber deposits could potentially be exploited for cartilage tissue engineering. ^ Ultrafine fibers of starch acetate (SA) also were prepared by the electrospinning process. In this study, solvent mixtures based on DMF, DMSO, pyrindine, acetic acid, acetone, THF, DMC, chloroform were used. A two-solvent formulation was used to study the effect of viscosity, surface tension, and conductivity to the fiber diameter. Also, water and ethanol were used to decrease the boiling point of the solvent, and to make bundled fibers. Several techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, conductmetry, viscometry, and tensiometry were used in this study. The results showed that the combined effects of viscosity, surface tension, and conductivity are of great importance in controlling the diameter of the fibers. We were able to produce SA fibers that was less than 40 nm in diameter. The dependence of fiber diameter on flow-rate, electric field and solvents also was investigated. ^ A rotating disk and a rotating wheel were proposed for collecting oriented electrospun fibers. Results showed that the two methods have some advantages over methods previously reported in the literature. ^ We also proposed a mechanism of formation of cross-linked oriented fibers. The processing temperature played an important role in controlling the morphology of the fibers. The influence of operating parameters on the electrospinning process also was studied. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Biomedical|Engineering, Chemical|Engineering, Materials Science

Recommended Citation

Vu, David, "Electrospinning of oriented and nonoriented ultrafine fibers of biopolymers" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3199705.