Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Gary L. Bowlin


The conception of electrospinning can trace its roots back more than 400 years, when it was observed that rubbed amber can deform a droplet of water on a smooth surface, and is based upon simple concepts of charge separation and surface tension. Since that time, considerable effort has been directed at both the cause and utility of this phenomenon. The specific aim of this dissertation project was to develop an automated electrostatic processing apparatus that was capable of controlling the three-dimensional architecture of an electrospun scaffold to further improve its utility in tissue engineering. The efficacy of using this technique has been well documented and can be adapted to produce tissue engineering scaffolds for a variety of tissues and organs. This apparatus incorporates precise mandrel motion. The system is capable of 0 - 5000 revolution per minute rotation, 0 - 25 inch per second translation and ± 40° rotation about the electrospinning jet axis for repeatable scaffold production. Fiber alignment and scaffold density are precisely controlled by rotating a mandrel along one axis, translation along that same axis, and rotation around the second axis perpendicular to the electrospun fiber stream. The control is accomplished with a PC based "supervisory" control program written partially in the LabVIEW® programming language and partially in SI Programmer supplied by Applied Motion Products. Scaffold thickness and fiber diameters are determined by the syringe metering pump flow rate, material being electrospun and solution concentrations. Through extensive laboratory analysis (mechanical testing and both optical and electron microscopy), parameters such as fiber orientation, diameter and mechanics can be predictive from specific polymer setups. Our laboratory has demonstrated the ability to electrospin natural and synthetic polymers and this apparatus will be utilized to tailor scaffolds to meet specific tissue engineering needs by creating a truly biomimicking scaffold / extracellular matrix.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008