Forcespinning technique was used to fabricate sub-micron size polycaprolactone (PCL) fibers. Forcespinning method uses centrifugal forces for the generation of fibers unlike the electrospinning method which uses electrostatic force. PCL has been extensively used as scaffolds for cell regeneration, substrates for tissue engineering and in drug delivery systems. The aim of this study is to qualitatively analyze the force spun fiber mats and investigate the effect of the spinneret rotational speed on the fiber morphology, thermal and mechanical properties. The extracted fibers were characterized by scanning electron microscopy differential scanning calorimetry, tensile testing and dynamic mechanical analysis. The results showed that higher rotational speeds produced uniform fibers with less number of beads. The crystallinity of the fibers decreased with increase in rotational speeds. The Young’s modulus of the forcespun fibers was found to be in the range of 3.5 to 6 MPa. Storage and loss moduli decreased with the increase in the fiber diameter. The fibers collected at farther distance from spinneret exhibited optimal mechanical properties compared to the fibers collected at shorter distances. This study will aid in extracting fibers with uniform geometries and lower beads to achieve the desired nanofiber drug release properties.
Nanomechanics and Testing of Core-Shell Composite Ligaments for High Strength, Light Weight Foams
ABSTRACT Composite nanostructured foams consisting of a metallic shell deposited on a polymeric core were formed by plating copper via electroless deposition on electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) fiber mats. The final structure consisted of 1000-nm scale PCL fibers coated with 100s of nm of copper, leading to final core-shell thicknesses on the order of 1000-3000 nm. The resulting open cell, core-shell foams had relative densities between 4 and 15 %. By controlling the composition of the adjuncts in the plating bath, particularly the composition of formaldehyde, the relative thickness of copper coating as the fiber diameter could be controlled. As-spun PCL mats had a nominal compressive modulus on the order of 0.1 MPa; adding a uniform metallic shell increased the modulus up to 2 MPa for sub-10 % relative density foams. A computational materials science analysis using density functional theory was used to explore the effects pre-treatment with Pd may have on the density of nuclei formed during electroless plating.
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