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Electrospun membranes as a porous barrier for molecular transport: Membrane characterization and release assessment

Liu, Weiyi
Walker, G
Price, S
Yang, X
Li, J
Bunt, Craig
Journal Article
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::3101 Biochemistry and cell biology , ANZSRC::3214 Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences , ANZSRC::321404 Pharmaceutical delivery technologies , ANZSRC::3214 Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Electrospun nanofibers have been extensively studied for encapsulated drugs releasing from the inside of the fiber matrix, but have been barely looked at for their potential to control release as a semi-permeable membrane. This study investigated molecular transport behaviors across nanofiber membranes with different micro-structure sizes and compositions. Four types of membranes were made by 5% and 10% poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) solutions electro-spun with or without 50 nm calcium carbonate (CaCO₃) nanoparticles. The membranes were tested for thickness, fiber diameter, pore size, porosity, tensile strength and elongation, contact angle of water and their impacts on molecular transport behaviors. The presence of the CaCO₃ nanoparticles made the 5% membranes stronger and stiffer but the 10% membranes weaker and less stiff due to the different (covering or embedded) locations of the nanoparticles with the corresponding fibers. Solute transport studies using caffeine as the model drug found the 5% membranes further retarded release from the 10% membranes, regardless of only half the amount of material being used for synthesis. The addition of CaCO₃ nanoparticles aided the water permeation process and accelerated initial transports. The difference in release profiles between 5% and 10% membranes suggests different release mechanisms, with membrane-permeability dominated release for 5% PCL membranes and solute-concentration-gradient dominated release for 10% PCL membranes.