Improved fabrication of melt electrospun tissue engineering scaffolds using direct writing and advanced electric field control

Nikola Ristovski, Nathalie Bock, Sam Liao, Sean K. Powell, Jiongyu Ren, Giles T.S. Kirby, Keith A. Blackwood, Maria A. Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Direct writing melt electrospinning is an additive manufacturing technique capable of the layer-by-layer fabrication of highly ordered 3d tissue engineering scaffolds from micron-diameter fibers. The utility of these scaffolds, however, is limited by the maximum achievable height of controlled fiber deposition, beyond which the structure becomes increasingly disordered. A source of this disorder is charge build-up on the deposited polymer producing unwanted coulombic forces. In this study, the authors introduce a novel melt electrospinning platform with dual voltage power supplies to reduce undesirable charge effects and improve fiber deposition control. The authors produced and characterized several 90° cross-hatched fiber scaffolds using a range of needle/collector plate voltages. Fiber thickness was found to be sensitive only to overall potential and invariant to specific tip/collector voltage. The authors also produced ordered scaffolds up to 200 layers thick (fiber spacing 1 mm and diameter 40 μm) and characterized structure in terms of three distinct zones: ordered, semiordered, and disordered. Our in vitro analysis indicates successful cell attachment and distribution throughout the scaffolds, with little evidence of cell death after seven days. This study demonstrates the importance of electrostatic control for reducing destabilizing polymer charge effects and enabling the fabrication of morphologically suitable scaffolds for tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011006
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

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