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J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2006 Feb;6(2):487-93.

Electrospun bioactive nanocomposite scaffolds of polycaprolactone and nanohydroxyapatite for bone tissue engineering.

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Department of Physics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Nanocomposite scaffolds based on nanofibrous poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) and nanohydroxyapatite (nanoHA) with different compositions (wt%) were prepared by electrostatic co-spinning to mimic the nano-features of the natural extracellular matrix (ECM). NanoHA was found to be well dispersed in polymers up to the addition of 20 wt%, after ultrasonication. The composite scaffolds were characterized for structure and morphology using XRD, EDX, SEM, and DSC. The scaffolds have a porous nanofibrous morphology with fibers (majority) having diameters in the range of 450-650 nm, depending on composition, and interconnected pore structures. SEM, EDX, and XRD analyses have confirmed the presence of nanoHA in the fibers. As the nanoHA content in the fibers increases, the surface of fibers becomes rougher. The mechanical (tensile) property measurement of the electrospun composites reveals that as the nanoHA content increases, the ultimate strength increases from 1.68 MPa for pure PCL to 2.17, 2.65, 3.91, and 5.49 MPa for PCL/nanoHA composites with the addition of 5, 10, 15, and 20 wt% nanoHA, respectively. Similarly the tensile modulus also increases gradually from 6.12 MPa to 21.05 MPa with the increase of nanoHA content in the PCL/nanoHA fibers, revealing an increase in stiffness of the fibers due to the presence of HA. DSC analysis reveals that as nanoHA in the composite scaffolds increases, the melting point slightly increases due to the good dispersion and interface bonding between PCL and nanoHA.

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