The incorporation of thermosensitive microgels that can act as active sites into polymeric fibers through colloidal electrospinning originates multifunctional, highly porous, and biocompatible membranes suitable for biomedical applications. The use of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), a biocompatible, water-soluble polymer as a fiber template, not only allows the use of a simple set-up to produce composite membranes, but also avoids the use of organic solvents to prepare such systems. Further crosslinking with ultraviolet (UV) radiation avoids membrane dissolution in physiological conditions. Highly porous, UV crosslinked composite membranes with monodisperse mean fiber diameters around 530 nm were successfully produced. These composite membranes showed a Young Modulus of 22 MPa, and an ultimate tensile strength of 3 MPa, accessed in the mechanical tests. Furthermore, the same composite membranes were able to swell about 30 times their weight after 1 hour in aqueous medium. In this work composite multifunctional membranes were designed and extensively studied. PVP, a biocompatible water-soluble polymer, was used as a fiber template to incorporate thermoresponsive poly-(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm)-based microgels into the composite membrane using colloidal electrospinning. The design of multifunctional membranes can be further tailored to several biomedical applications such as temperature-controlled drug delivery systems.
- BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS