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© 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. In the late 1990s, the area of biomaterials saw the emergence of a new processing technique called 'electrospinning' that allows the production of nano- and microfibers. Compared to other methods creating thin fibers, electrospinning is simple, versatile, and cost effective. It uses an electrostatically driven jet by applying a high voltage to a liquid polymer solution to produce a long continuous fiber. Due to the variety of factors influencing the electrospinning process, a wide range of fiber morphologies can be created. Electrospun materials have attracted research interests because submicron fibers are naturally found in the extracellular matrix of human tissues and organs. The resulting high-specific surface area and good resistance against mechanical stress have also contributed to their success. Many reports in the literature have demonstrated that electrospun biomaterials support cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation. Current studies tend to investigate the use of electrospun fibers in three-dimensional (3D) arrangements. The diffusion of nutrients and waste is facilitated by the high porosity of the material. However, proper incorporation of cells in the 3D environment is a main challenge. Different strategies have been explored, including pore-size modification, multilayered approaches, and cell electrospinning. Electrospinning has found potential applications in the preparation of scaffolds for tissue engineering, wound-healing devices, drug-delivery systems, fillers for composite biomaterials, and coating of biomaterials. However, many challenges still have to be overcome to ensure the future of electrospun biomaterials. These include the need for better solvents and polymers as well as the need of improved control over the fiber formation and collection.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/B978-0-08-088504-9.00434-7

Type

Chapter

Book title

Comprehensive Biotechnology, Second Edition

Publication Date

09/09/2011

Volume

5

Pages

23 - 36