Parametric finite element model and mechanical characterisation of electrospun materials for biomedical applications

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Electrospun materials, due to their unique properties, have found many applications in the biomedical field. Exploiting their porous nanofibrous structure, they are often used as scaffolds in tissue engineering which closely resemble a native cellular environment. The structural and mechanical properties of the substrates need to be carefully optimised to mimic cues used by the extracellular matrix to guide cells’ behaviour and improve existing scaffolds. Optimisation of these parameters is enabled by using the finite element model of electrospun structures proposed in this study. First, a fully parametric three-dimensional microscopic model of electrospun material with a random fibrous network was developed. Experimental results were obtained by testing electrospun poly(ethylene) oxide materials. Parameters of single fibres were determined by atomic force microscopy nanoindentations and used as input data for the model. The validation was performed by comparing model output data with tensile test results obtained for electrospun mats. We performed extensive analysis of model parameters correlations to understand the crucial factors and enable extrapolation of a simplified model. We found good agreement between the simulation and the experimental data. The proposed model is a potent tool in the optimisation of electrospun structures and scaffolds for enhanced regenerative therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number278
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 07.01.2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Short Term Scientific Mission was funded by European Commission via FP7 COST Action 1206.I would like to acknowledge COST Action 1206 ?Electrospun Nano-fibres for bio inspired composite materials and innovative industrial applications? for allowing me to realize validation part of this work at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.; and VTT for hosting this Short Term Scientific Mission.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Electrospinning, FE, Modelling, Nonwoven, Poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), Tensile testing
  • Engineering