Electrospinning is a fiber production method which uses electric force to draw charged threads of a polymer solution or melt into fibers with diameters in the nano to micron size-scale. While this sounds like science fiction, it is a process that dates back to the early 20th century and continues to be at the forefront of biomedical engineering today. To date, pioneering research and development projects continue to validate its immense potential. In the biomedical and biomaterials communities alone, electrospinning has been widely utilized in disciplines such as: regenerative medicine (i.e., vascular, tendon/ligament, cardiac, neural, and wound healing), nanomedicine/drug delivery, cancer therapy, dentistry, and biosensors.
The set-up is simple and straightforward and includes three (3) main components:
1. Spinneret: A pump/polymer feed that distributes a polymer solution/melt at a controlled flow rate
2. High voltage source: Electrical force is applied to the spinneret, which accelerates the polymer solution as a jet from the spinneret tip to the collecting target
3. Collecting target: Accumulation area for fibers to build a fibrous construct, it can be designed for various applications and fiber orientation specifications (i.e., drum, blade collector, metallic plate, and array of parallel or counter electrodes)
Electrospinning yields fibers with remarkable properties. The resulting fibers are continuous, can be produced to submicron architectures, and exhibit high surface area-to-volume ratios and inter-/intra porosity. The electrospinning technique also allows for control over mechanical properties, microstructure, degradation rates, and downstream cellular and tissue level responses. Combining these benefits with the advantages of bioresorbable materials and devices can yield remarkable improvements in modern medicine which include:
• Eliminating the need for invasive secondary surgery intervention since the bioresorbable polymer is metabolized via physiological biochemical pathways
• Providing porous, supportive scaffolding for cell guidance, migration, and development until natural tissue replaces the implant/device
• Imitating structural tissue complexity by being able to build structures from the nano, micro, and macro-scale
Poly-Med, a world leader in bioresorbable polymers, has utilized electrospinning to develop bioresorbable scaffolds and devices for improved tissue regeneration, restoration, and function. Poly-Med has the ability to provide industrial scale electrospinning services for a range of bioresorbable polymers that meet not only mechanical and degradation requirements but are also viable in the human body.
It is exciting to be a part of Poly-Med’s continued growth in the electrospinning field. This revolutionary technique carries great promise for advancing not only the field of biomedical engineering but also improving human lives and expanding upon traditional mesh based technologies. If you are interested in hearing more about our electrospinning capabilities or have an idea for an electrospun component or device, please reach out to us!
Brittany Banik, Ph.D.