Mechano-morphological studies of aligned nanofibrous scaffolds of polycaprolactone fabricated by electrospinning

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Mechanical and morphological studies of aligned nanofibrous meshes of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fabricated by electrospinning at different collector rotation speeds (0,3000 and 6000 rpm) for application as bone tissue scaffolds are reported. SEM, XRD and DSC analyses were used for the morphological characterization of the nanofibers. Scaffolds have a nanofibrous morphology with fibers (majority) having a diameter in the range of 550-350 nm (depending on fiber uptake rates) and an interconnected pore structure. With the increase of collector rotation speed, the nanofibers become more aligned and oriented perpendicular to the axis of rotation. Deposition of fibers at higher fiber collection speeds has a profound effect on the morphology and mechanical properties of individual fibers and also the bulk fibrous meshes. Nanoindentation was used for the measurement of nanoscopic mechanical properties of individual fibers of the scaffolds. The hardness and Young's modulus of aligned fibers measured by nanoindentation decreased with collector rotation speeds. This reveals the difference in the local microscopic structure of the fibers deposited at higher speeds. The sequence of nanoscopic mechanical properties (hardness and modulus) of three fibers is PCL at 0 rpm > PCL at 3000 rpm > PCL at 6000 rpm. This may be explained due to the decrease in crystallinity of fibers at higher uptake rates. However, uni-axial tensile properties of (bulk) scaffolds (tensile strength and modulus) increased with increasing collector rotation speed. The average ultimate tensile strength of scaffolds (along the fiber alignment) increased from 2.21 ± 0.23 MPa for PCL at uptake rate of zero rpm, to a value of 4.21 ± 0.35 MPa for PCL at uptake rate of 3000 rpm and finally to 9.58 ± 0.71 MPa for PCL at 6000 rpm. Similarly, the tensile modulus increased gradually from 6.12 ± 0.8 MPa for PCL at uptake rate of zero rpm, to 11.93 ± 1.22 MPa for PCL at uptake rate of 3000 rpm and to 33.20 ± 1.98 MPa for PCL at 6000 rpm. The sequence of macroscopic mechanical properties (tensile strength and modulus) of three fibers, from highest to lowest, is PCL at 0 rpm < PCL at 3000 rpm < PCL at 6000 rpm. This is attributed to the increased fiber alignment and packing and decrease in inter-fiber pore size at higher uptake rates. © VSP 2006.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Thomas V; Jose MV; Chowdhury S; Sullivan JF; Dean DR; Vohra YK
  • Start Page

  • 969
  • End Page

  • 984
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 9