Process Biochemistry, Vol.44, No.9, 992-998, 2009
Modifications of nonwoven polyethylene terephthalate fibrous matrices via NaOH hydrolysis: Effects on pore size, fiber diameter, cell seeding and proliferation
A simple NaOH treatment method was developed for fabricating nonwoven fibrous matrices of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with predictable porosity, pore size, and fiber diameter. Matrices with various porosities (90-97%), fiber diameters (13.5-25 mu m), and pore sizes (54-65 mu m) were prepared by treating with 1N NaOH at 70 degrees C for up to 120 h, resulting in up to 70% hydrolysis of the PET polymer. The hydrolysis of PET polymer by NaOH was found to follow a second-order kinetics with respect to the fiber surface area. Accordingly, mathematical models were developed to predict matrix porosity, fiber diameter, and apparent pore size of the PET matrices. The exponential decay coefficient of PET polymer was found to be 0.0147 h(-1). The matrices were used to study the effects of pore size and fiber diameter on cell seeding and proliferation. The seeding study demonstrated that cell adhesion on PET fibers can be enhanced, largely due to the increased surface roughness of the PET fibers. Decreasing the fiber diameter increases the surface curvature of the fibers and decreases available surface area for cell attachment, which, however, only resulted in a small decrease in the cell growth rate. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.