Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Dr. Andrew Hrymak


One of the most important product specifications in design of materials for different applications is to closely match desired mechanical properties of the target. The soft tissue could be very elastic such as blood vessels and skin, whereas others are soft and non-elastic such as fat tissue. Soft human tissue has a diverse structural component that give them the different feel, texture, shape, and mechanical properties.

Poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) as hydrophobic polymer has outstanding features such as very good physico-mechanical properties, nontoxicity and biocompatibility, and high swelling properties which makes them favorable for biomaterial and biomedical applications. By physically crosslinking PVA, one can eliminate residual amount of toxic crosslinking agent compared to chemically crosslinking. Moreover, by adding fillers (particle or fibers) to PVA and making PVA based blends, desirable mechanical properties can be achieved which, consequently can mimic the different human tissue texture and properties.

Different naturally based fillers such as chitosan, micro crystalline cellulose (MCC), and cotton fibers were added to improve the mechanical properties. Also, PVA was blended with xanthan gum and sorbitol to improve the elasticity of the material.