Rotational melt spinning as a manufacturing method for tissue engineering scaﬀolds
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A solvent-free rotational melt spinning method (RMS) was studied as a manufacturing method of sub-micron sized fibers or fibrous webs. RMS method consists of melting of polymer and pushing it through a spinning nozzle using centrifugal forces. Critical processing parameters were studied in this work. Trials were done by a commercial table sized device with constant rotation speed of 2800 rpm. The device was modified and three different spinnerets and two collectors were used. Thermoplastic biodegradable polymers poly(L-lactide-co-D-lactide) 96/4, poly-DL-lactide 50/50, poly-ɛ-caprolactone and poly(L-lactide-ɛ-caprolactone) 70/30 with different inherent viscosities (iv) and melting ranges had been processed. Material properties like elasticity and crystallinity, the spinneret design and processing parameters like heating and cooling affected the size and structure of formed fibrous product. End-products varied from separate and short fibers to fibrous webs with average fiber diameters between 5-15 µm. Present results showed that RMS is a promising method to produce sub-micron sized webs for tissue engineering purposes but stretching of fibers into sub-micron size and repeatability of the process were challenging with the existing device. As future measures the spinning device should develop further by increasing the rotation speed of the spinneret and integrating a proper thermoelement into the device.