Atmospheric pressure non-equilibriumplasma for the production of composite materials

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In the evolving field of tissue engineering, continuous advances are requiredto improve scaffold design and fabrication to obtain biomimetic supports forcell adhesion, proliferation, penetration and differentiation. Both electrospunfibrous scaffolds and hydrogels are used in this field since they wellreproduce the structure of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of many biologicaltissues. Limitations of these two types of materials can be overcomethrough their combination, by developing composite structures combiningenhanced mechanical properties (provided by the fibrous components) andimproved cell penetration (provided by the gel phase) in a superior ability tomimic natural ECM that is constituted by both a fibrous protein network anda hydrogel matrix. Here we develop new composite materials made ofelectrospun PLLA scaffolds and poly(amidoamine) hydrogels with differentdegrees of crosslinking. To promote compatibilization and good adhesionbetween the two materials, surface chemical reactions between hydrogelsand PLLA mats are induced by inserting amino functional groups onelectrospun PLLA mats by means of atmospheric pressure non-thermalplasma. Results will be presented concerning the exposure of PLLAsubstrates to the plasma region generated by a Dielectric Barrier Dischargeat atmospheric pressure, driven by a HV Amplifier connected to a functiongenerator operating with a microsecond rise time and operated in N2.Surface and solid-state thermo-mechanical characterizations of plasmatreated substrates and of resulting composite materials at differentcrosslinking degrees are presented. Results of mechanical tests show a highadhesion between hydrogel and plasma treated PLLA electrospun mats,underlining the opportunity to use atmospheric non-thermal plasmas tofabricate a composite starting from two materials otherwise physicallyincompatible. Potential effects of nanofibrous-hydrogel were evaluated byinvestigating pluripotent stem cells response.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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