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J R Soc Interface. 2010 Apr 6;7(45):641-9. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2009.0374. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

Relationships between specific surface area and pore size in electrospun polymer fibre networks.

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School of Materials and the Northwest Composites Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


From consideration of the extent of contact between fibres in electrospun polymer networks, we provide theory relating the specific surface area of the network to the characteristic dimensions of interfibre voids. We show that these properties are strongly influenced by the cross-sectional morphologies of fibres. Whereas porosity has a strong influence on pore dimensions, in the range of porosities typically obtained in real networks, its influence on specific surface area is weak. By considering reference geometries of collapsed ribbons and fibres with circular cross sections, we demonstrate that at a given network porosity, fibre parameters that increase the specific surface area reduce the characteristic dimensions of voids. The implications of the theory, mainly in the context of cell proliferation on electrospun polymer scaffolds, are discussed; the theory has relevance also to future applications of these materials in composites.

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