Electrohydrodynamic bubbling: an alternative route to fabricate porous structures of silk fibroin based materials.
Ekemen Z., Ahmad Z., Stride E., Kaplan D., Edirisinghe M.
Conventional fabrication techniques and structures employed in the design of silk fibroin (SF) based porous materials provide only limited control over pore size and require several processing stages. In this study, it is shown that, by utilizing electrohydrodynamic bubbling, not only can new hollow spherical structures of SF be formed in a single step by means of bubbles, but the resulting bubbles can serve as pore generators when dehydrated. The bubble characteristics can be controlled through simple adjustments to the processing parameters. Bubbles with diameters in the range of 240-1000 μm were fabricated in controlled fashion. FT-IR characterization confirmed that the rate of air infused during processing enhanced β-sheet packing in SF at higher flow rates. Dynamic mechanical analysis also demonstrated a correlation between air flow rate and film tensile strength. Results indicate that electrohydrodynamically generated SF and their composite bubbles can be employed as new tools to generate porous structures in a controlled manner with a range of potential applications in biocoatings and tissue engineering scaffolds.