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Abstract Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) is one of the leading biocompatible and biodegradable polymers. However, the mechanical property of PCL is relatively poor as compared with that of polyolefins, which has limited the active applications of PCL as an industrial material. In this study, to enhance the mechanical property of PCL, cellulose nanofibers (C-NF) with high mechanical property, were employed as reinforcement materials for PCL. The C-NF were fabricated via the electrospinning of cellulose acetate (CA) followed by the subsequent saponification of the CA nanofibers. For the enhancement of the mechanical property of the PCL composite, the compatibility of C-NF and PCL was investigated: the surface modification of the C-NF was introduced by the ring-opening polymerization of the ε-caprolactone on the C-NF surface (C-NF-g-PCL). The polymerization was confirmed by the Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Tensile testing was performed to examine the mechanical properties of the C-NF/PCL and the C-NF-g-PCL/PCL. At the fiber concentration of 10 wt%, the Young’s modulus of PCL compounded with neat C-NF increased by 85% as compared with that of pure PCL, while, compounded with C-NF-g-PCL, the increase was 114%. The fracture surface of the composites was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). From the SEM images, it was confirmed that the interfacial compatibility between PCL and C-NF was improved by the surface modification. The results demonstrated that the effective surface modification of C-NF contributed to the enhancement of the mechanical property of PCL.more » « less
In this work, we report the electrospinning and mechano-morphological characterizations of scaffolds based on blends of a novel poly(ester urethane urea) (PHH) and poly(dioxanone) (PDO). At the optimized electrospinning conditions, PHH, PDO and blend PHH/PDO in Hexafluroisopropanol (HFIP) solution yielded bead-free non-woven random nanofibers with high porosity and diameter in the range of hundreds of nanometers. The structural, morphological, and biomechanical properties were investigated using Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, and tensile tests. The blended scaffold showed an elastic modulus (~5 MPa) with a combination of the ultimate tensile strength (2 ± 0.5 MPa), and maximum elongation (150% ± 44%) in hydrated conditions, which are comparable to the materials currently being used for soft tissue applications such as skin, native arteries, and cardiac muscles applications. This demonstrates the feasibility of an electrospun PHH/PDO blend for cardiac patches or vascular graft applications that mimic the nanoscale structure and mechanical properties of native tissue.more » « less
A novel, highly sensitive and selective safrole sensor has been developed using quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) coated with polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) nanofibers. The nanofibers were collected on the QCM sensing surface using an electrospinning method with an average diameter ranging from 612 nm to 698 nm and relatively high
Q–factors (rigid coating). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to analyze the PVAc nanofiber surface morphology, confirming its high surface area and roughness, which are beneficial in improving the sensor sensitivity compared to its thin-film counterpart. The as-spun PVAc nanofiber sensor could demonstrate a safrole limit of detection (LOD) of down to 0.7 ppm with a response time of 171 s and a sensitivity of 1.866 Hz/ppm. It also showed good reproducibility, rapid response time, and excellent recovery. Moreover, cross-interference of the QCM sensor response to non-target gases was investigated, yielding very low cross-sensitivity and high selectivity of the safrole sensor. Owing to its high robustness and low fabrication cost, this proposed sensing device is expected to be a promising alternative to classical instrumental analytical methods for monitoring safrole-based drug precursors.
Introduction The mechanical vulnerability of the atherosclerotic cap is a crucial risk factor in asymptomatic fibroatheromas. Our research group demonstrated using numerical modeling that microcalcifications (µCalcs) located in the fibrous cap can multiply the tissue background stress by a factor 2-7[1-3]. We showed how this effect depends on the size and the ratio of the gap between particles pairs (h) and their diameter (D) along the tensile axis. In this context, we studied the impact of micro-beads of varying diameters and concentration on the rupture of human fibroatheroma laboratory models. Methods We created silicone-based (DowsilEE-3200, Dow Corning) dumbbell-shaped models (80%-scaled ASTM D412-C) of arterial tissues. Samples were divided into three groups: (1) without μBeads (control, n=12), (2) with μBeads of varying diameter (D=30,50,100μm) at a constant concentration of 1% weight (n=36), (3) with μBeads of constant diameter (D=50μm) at different concentrations (3% and 5% weight) (n=24). Before testing, samples were scanned under Micro-CT, at a resolution of 4µm. Images were then reconstructed in NRecon (SkySCan, v.2014) and structural parameters obtained in CTan (SkyScan, v.2014). These data were used to calculate the number of beads and their respective h/D ratio in a custom-made MATLAB script. We tested the samples using a custom-made micro material testing system equipped with real-time control and acquisition software (LabVIEW, v. 2018, NI). The reaction force and displacement were measured by the system and images of the sample were recorded by a high-resolution camera. The true stress and strain profiles of each sample were obtained by means of Digital Image Correlation (DIC). Results Samples with and without μBeads exhibited a distinct hyperelastic behaviour typical of arterial tissues (Fig1). Comparison of the mean ultimate stress (UTS) between groups was performed by one-way ANOVA test followed by post-hoc pairwise comparison. Regardless of the group, the presence of μBeads determined a statistically significant reduction in UTS (Fig2). Increasing the μBeads concentration was also positively correlated with lower stresses at rupture as more clusters formed resulting in lower values of h/D (Table1). Discussions Our results clearly capture the influence of μBeads on the rupture threshold of a vascular tissue mimicking material. In fact, samples with μBeads exhibit levels of UTS that are around two times lower than the control group. This effect appears to be dependent on the μBeads proximity, as lower h/D correlates with higher UTS reductions. On the other hand, the effect of particle size is not apparent for the diameters considered in this study. The plausible explanation for the observed change in rupture threshold is the increase in stress concentration around spherical μBeads, which we have previously shown in analytical and numerical studies [1-3]. Our experimental observations support our previous studies suggesting that μCalcs located within the fibroatheroma cap may be responsible for significantly increasing the risk of cap rupture that precedes myocardial infarction and sudden death.more » « less
Managing water resources has become one of the most pressing concerns of scientists in both academia and industry. Broadening access to nontraditional water feedstocks, such as brackish water, seawater and wastewater, requires a robust pretreatment process to prolong the lifetime and improve the efficiency of reverse osmosis treatment processes. Herein, pretreatment membranes with tunable hydrophilic characteristics and mechanical properties were developed through a facile and scalable technique. Specifically, poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) were electrospun at various PVA‐to‐PVC mass ratios and then crosslinked with a poly(ethylene glycol) diacid. Fiber diameters and morphologies were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM); Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and confocal fluorescence microscopy further confirmed the presence of both polymers. Moreover, a rigorous analysis to map the PVA/PVC concentration was established to accurately determine the relative concentrations of the two polymers on the co‐spun mat. The crosslinking reaction noted above tuned the membrane porosity from 500 to 80 nm, as seen using SEM, and the mechanical properties were probed using tensile testing. The data revealed that the PVC content controlled the mechanical strength; moreover, higher PVA contents were expected to increase water permeation by enhancing the hydrophilicity, but the higher degree of crosslinking in these materials actually reduced water permeation. This work introduces a facile, scalable route for the manufacture of pretreatment membranes with tunable porosity, mechanical properties and water permeation behavior. © 2021 Society of Industrial Chemistry.