Electrospinning and characterisation of gelMA nanofibers
Khing, Kirstein Wee Ting
Date of Issue2016-06-01
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The emergence of nanotechnology has led to new breakthroughs across many fields. One of the main beneficiaries is the biomedical industry as the ability to fabricate nano-scale tissue scaffolds have led to better solutions in tissue design and brought mankind one step closer to achieving success in tissue regeneration, organ repair, and replacement. This could potentially save thousands of lives each year. Electrospinning is a tissue scaffold fabrication method that has captured the interest of many researchers worldwide as it involves the use of simple equipment and is low in cost but offers the economies of scale for actual implementation. Electrospinning Gelatin produces nanofibers that have small pore diameters with high porosity and large surface area to volume ratio, properties which are ideal for scaffold application. However, these fibers are weak mechanically and dissolve in water. Gelatin Methacrylate (GelMA), a modified form of Gelatin that contains methacrylate groups, can be crosslinked using photopolymerization to form hydrogels. These hydrogels possess the qualities of Gelatin and have tunable mechanical, biological and degradation properties but are usually formed in templates which make it unsuitable for direct application. There has been little success thus far in electrospinning GelMA nanofibers for scaffold application. This study serves to explore the feasibility of electrospinning GelMA nanofibers and geometrically characterise the fibers. Reactive electrospinning, a method that involves photopolymerizing the fiber in flight during the electrospinning process will also be explored. The results showed that reactive electrospinning of GelMA fibers can be achieved under certain conditions. A suitable solvent, in this case, acetic acid, has to be used and the concentration of the solution has to be above a certain critical entanglement concentration. Concentration, in terms of weight to volume percentage also has to take into account the volume of the solvent. Characterisation of the fibers using SEM showed that the fiber diameters of the fibers produced range from 348nm to 890nm. It was also found that the effect of voltage on fiber diameter is affected by changes in flow rate but the effect of flow rate is not affected by changes in voltage. These empirical relationships between parameters should be further explored.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University