Dalton, Paul.D. and Shoichet, Molly.S.
Creating porous tubes by centrifugal forces for soft tissue application.
Biomaterials, 22, (19), . (doi:10.1016/S0142-9612(01)00008-4).
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Chemically crosslinked poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) tubes were synthesized by applying centrifugal forces to propagating polymer chains in solution. Initiated monomer solutions, with a composition typical for PHEMA sponges, were placed into a cylindrical mold that was rotated about its long axis. As polymerization proceeded, phase separated PHEMA formed a sediment at the periphery under centrifugal action. The solvent remained in the center of the mold while the PHEMA phase gelled, resulting in a tube. By controlling the rotational speed and the formulation chemistry (i.e., monomer, initiator and crosslinking agent concentrations), the tube dimensions and wall morphology were manipulated. Tube manufacture was limited by a critical casting concentration [M]c, above which only rods formed. All tubes had an outer diameter of 2.4 mm, reflecting the internal diameter of the mold and a wall thickness of approximately 40–400 ?m. Wall morphologies varied from interconnecting polymer and water phases to a closed cell, gel-like, structure. Concentric tubes were successfully prepared by using formulations that enhanced phase separation over gelation/network formation. This was achieved by using formulations with lower concentrations of monomer and crosslinking agent and higher concentrations of initiator. This technique offers a new approach to the synthesis of polymeric tubes for use in soft tissue applications, such as nerve guidance channels.
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