Electrospinning over Solvent Casting: Tuning of Mechanical Properties of Membranes

We put forth our opinion regarding the enhanced plasticity and modulation of mechanical properties of polymeric films obtained through electrospinning process in this article. In majority of the pharmaceutical, biomedical, and packaging applications, it is desirable that polymer based matrices should be soft, flexible, and have a moderate toughness. In order to convert inflexible and brittle polymers, adjuvants in the form of plasticizers are added to improve the flexibility and smoothness of solvent casted polymer films. However, many of these plasticizers are under scrutiny for their toxic effects and environmental hazards. In addition, plasticizers also increase the cost of end products. This has motivated the scientific community to investigate alternate approaches. The changes imparted in membrane casted by electrospinning were tried to be proved by SEM, Mechanical property study, DSC and XRD studies. We have showed dramatic improvement in flexibility of poly(ε-caprolactone) based nanofiber matrix prepared by electrospinning method whereas solvent casting method without any plasticizer produced very brittle, inflexible film of PCL. Modulation capacity of mechanical properties is also recorded. We tried to support our opinion by citing several similar findings available in the open literature. The electrospinning method helps in plasticization and in tuning mechanical properties.

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