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Materials characterization

Production and cross-sectional characterization of aligned co-electrospun hollow microfibrous bulk assemblies.


PMID 26702249

Abstract

The development of co-electrospun (co-ES) hollow microfibrous assemblies of an appreciable thickness is critical for many practical applications, including filtration membranes and tissue-mimicking scaffolds. In this study, thick uniaxially aligned hollow microfibrous assemblies forming fiber bundles and strips were prepared by co-ES of polycaprolactone (PCL) and polyethylene oxide (PEO) as shell and core materials, respectively. Hollow microfiber bundles were deposited on a fixed rotating disc, which resulted in non-controllable cross-sectional shapes on a macroscopic scale. In comparison, fiber strips were produced with tuneable thickness and width by additionally employing an x-y translation stage in co-ES. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of cross-sections of fiber assemblies were analyzed to investigate the effects of production time (from 0.5xa0h to 12xa0h), core flow rate (from 0.8xa0mL/h to 2.0xa0mL/h) and/or translation speed (from 0.2xa0mm/s to 5xa0mm/s) on the pores and porosity. We observed significant changes in pore size and shape with core flow rate but the influence of production time varied; five strips produced under the same conditions had reasonably good size and porosity reproducibility; pore sizes didn't vary significantly from strip bottom to surface, although the porosity gradually decreased and then returned to the initial level.