Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Engineering Science

Program

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Supervisor(s)

Dr. Wankei Wan

Abstract

With the aim of creating a biodegradable scaffold for tympanic membrane (TM) tissue regeneration, core-shell nanofibers composed of a poly(caprolactone) shell and a poly(ethylene glycol) core were created using a coaxial electrospinning technique. In order to create fibers with an optimal core-shell morphology, the effect of relative humidity (RH) on the core-shell nanofibers was systematically studied, with a FITC-BSA complex encapsulated in the core to act as a model protein. The core-shell nanofibers were electrospun at relative humidity values of 20, 25, 30, and 40% RH within a glove box outfitted for humidity control. The core-shell morphology of the fibers was studied via the use of scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and laser scanning confocal microscopy. It was found that humidity does alter the core-shell morphology by altering the rate at which the fibers dry and that there is an ideal humidity for the coaxial electrospinning of core-shell fibers. In addition, the fibers were fashioned into a biomimetic scaffold for TM regeneration using a rotating mandrel to align the nanofibers and to create a dual layer fibrous mat similar to the structure of native TM collagen fibers.