D. Brennan, J. Posselt, C. Wagner, V. Beachley
Keywords: electrospinnig, polymer, nanofiber
Summary:Nanofibers exhibit a unique combination of qualities including large surface area to volume ratio, flexibility, and high mesh porosity; making them useful in a variety of applications ranging from textiles to composite reinforcement to tissue engineering. Electrospinning is an alternative fiber manufacturing method capable of producing nanofibers from a variety of polymers in a simple and inexpensive process. Previously, a method of simultaneously electrospinning and drawing was developed and used to produce sheets of nanofibers with aligned polymer chains and increased tensile strength. However, in many applications a nanofiber’s ability to resist degradation and maintain mechanical strength is a critical material property. The following study investigated the effects of post-drawing on the enzymatic degradation rate of electrospun polycaprolactone nanofibers. We hypothesized there is an inverse relationship between post-drawing ratio and degradation rate. Drawn fiber samples, with aligned, extended chains will resist enzyme penetration and degrade at a slower rate, maintaining a higher degree of mechanical integrity compared to undrawn fibers with unorganized, loosely packed chain structures.