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Biomaterials. 2008 Apr;29(10):1422-30. Epub 2007 Dec 21.

The use of thermal treatments to enhance the mechanical properties of electrospun poly(epsilon-caprolactone) scaffolds.

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1
Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA. sjlee@wfubmc.edu <sjlee@wfubmc.edu>

Abstract

Nonwoven nanofiber scaffolds fabricated by electrospinning technology have been widely used for tissue engineering applications. Although electrospun nanofiber scaffolds fulfill many requirements for tissue engineering applications, they sometimes lack the necessary biomechanical properties. To attempt to improve the biomechanical properties of electrospun poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds, fibers were bonded by thermal treatment. The thermal fiber bonding was performed in Pluronic F127 solution at a range of temperatures from 54 degrees C to 60 degrees C. Thermally bonded electrospun PCL scaffolds were characterized by analyzing the changes in morphology, fiber diameter, pore area, tensile properties, suture retention strength, burst pressure strength, and compliance. The biomechanical properties of the thermally bonded electrospun PCL scaffolds were significantly increased without any gross observable and ultrastructural changes when compared to untreated PCL scaffolds. This study suggests that the introduction of thermal fiber bonding to electrospun PCL scaffolds improved the biomechanical properties of these scaffolds, making them more suitable for tissue engineering applications.

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