Engineering Seminar Series 24_2013: Electrospinning of Chitosan/Cellulose/Halloysite Nanotube (HNT) Nanocomposite as a potential biomaterial

Ms Kavitha S.Govindasamy, Mech Eng postgraduate student

Date: 2013-05-08
Time: 10:00 to 11:00
Venue: Engineering Meeting Room 1, 5-4-22


Presently a wide variety engineering materials are challenging to produce novel materials with unique properties such as high strength and thermal stability. Specifically in the field of biomedicines/tissue engineering, material science rapidly ventures in materials capable of mimicking the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the human body which serves for the application in wound dressings, scaffolding for bone, stem cells, cartilage, dental regeneration, drug delivery and etc.  For such purposes, non-toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible materials with high strength are  necessary requirements.  Naturally occurring materials offers remarkable advantages relative to synthetic materials since the surrounding biological environment can recognize and metabolically process the substance through established pathways. Also, it allows developing nano-scale materials offers the best known substitutes to meet such requirements.  For such, electrospinning is a preferred method of biomaterial preparation as it is a fairly simple and scalable method for producing membranes of continuous fibers with diameters ranging from the nanometre to micrometre scales, with large specific surface area. Additionally, electrospun fibrous membranes have a porous structure allowing such materials to closely mimic the nanoscale properties of the natural extracellular matrix on the one condition that the material used is biocompatible. This study aims to investigate the possibility of electrospinning of neat chitosan in an organic solvent along with HNTs as nanofiller to reinforce chitosan. Considering the biodegradability and biocompatibility of both chitosan and HNTs, it is proposed to use a non-toxic solvent without any co-spinning agents in order to increase the likelihood of biocompatibility of the nanocomposite membranes. When considering the structure of HNTs, it is expected that the mechanical strength of the nanocomposite membranes would be increased to a greater extent.  HNTs are inexpensive, widely available, non-toxic and biodegradable. The proven mechanical strength and thermal stability of HNTs show great potential for biomedical applications. This research seeks to develop a novel biopolymer nanocomposite material that could expand the currently existing applications of electrospun chitosan. In addition, carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) has been reported to have similar physico-chemical characteristics with chitosan and there is a strong ionic cross-linking action between CMC and chitosan. With reference to CMC, membranes of Chitosan/CMC/HNTs will be prepared and physical and chemical properties of these  will be characterized with tensile test, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscope, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis, contact angle test and simulated body fluid analysis.  In addition to that, these prepared membranes will be further characterized with in vitro studies using cell lines. Finally, these experimental data will be validated with a computational model, developed with the aid of finite element analysis (FEA). The final results of the study will suggest the feasibility of these prepared membranes could be used as a potential biomaterial for tissue engineering purposes. 

About the Speaker

Ms Kavitha graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology with Honours) from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Faculty of Engineering and Science, in 2008. She joined the postgraduate program in Monash in 2012, and is under the supervision of Dr Pooria Pasbakhsh, Dr. Goh Kheng Lim, and Dr Lau Ee Von. Her research focus is on electrospinning Chitosan and Cellulose by incorporating Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) and characterizing its physical, chemical and biological properties.