Pure chitosan microfibres for biomedical applications

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Abstract

Due to its excellent biocompatibility, Chitosan is a very promising material for degradable products in biomedical applications. The development of pure chitosan microfibre yarn with defined size and directional alignment has always remained a critical research objective. Only fibres of consistent quality can be manufactured into textile structures, such as nonwovens and knitted or woven fabrics. In an adapted, industrial scale wet spinning process, chitosan fibres can now be manufactured at the Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology at TU Dresden (ITM). The dissolving system, coagulation bath, washing bath and heating/drying were optimised in order to obtain pure chitosan fibres that possess an adequate tenacity. A high polymer concentration of 8.0–8.5% wt. is realised by regulating the dope-container temperature. The mechanical tests show that the fibres present very high average tensile force up to 34.3 N, tenacity up to 24.9 cN/tex and Young’s modulus up to 20.6 GPa, values much stronger than that of the most reported chitosan fibres. The fibres were processed into 3D nonwoven structures and stable knitted and woven textile fabrics. The mechanical properties of the fibres and fabrics enable its usage as textile scaffolds in regenerative medicine. Due to the osteoconductive properties of chitosan, promising fields of application include cartilage and bone tissue engineering.

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