Electrospinning of hybrid polymers to mimic spider dragline silk
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Electrospinning of hybrid polymers to mimic spider dragline silk. A joint-project between Singapore’s Hwa Chong Institution and Virginia’s Academy of Science. Lim Yao Chong HCI ・ Low Rui Hao HCI  ・ Tracey Atkinson AOS  ・ Patrick Steiner AOS. Background Information.

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Electrospinning of hybrid polymers to mimic spider dragline silk

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Electrospinning of hybrid polymers to mimic spider dragline silk

Electrospinning of hybrid polymers to mimic spider dragline silk

A joint-project between Singapore’s Hwa Chong Institution and Virginia’s Academy of Science

Lim Yao Chong HCI ・ Low Rui Hao HCI ・ Tracey Atkinson AOS ・ Patrick Steiner AOS


Background information

Background Information

Spider Dragline Silk KeratinElastinElectrospinning

  • Provides elasticity to artery walls, lung tissue, skin, ligaments, etc. 

  • Biodegradable

  • More elastic than spider silk

It has a High tensile strengthand High extensibility.

Composite structure of crystalline and elastic regions

  • Polymer dissolves in volatile solvent and placed in syringe. High voltage causes the polymer to spin into thin threads on to a collector plate.

  • Provides strength in biomaterials: nails, bird beaks, horns, etc.

  • Biodegradable

  • Has same beta-sheet composition as spider silk


Collaboration process

Collaboration Process

Job Division ・ Initial Progress ・ Sustained Communication・ Consolidation

With a given topic, the teams work on coming out with parallel projects:

Working towards the same goal

Aiding each other in research

Independent

  • HCI students flew over to Virginia to plan:

  • Parallel projects

  • Materials & Methodologies

  • Data Collection Method

  • This is to ensure uniformity and consistency

  • Both parties embarked on individual research and shared reviews, discussed problems and shared findings online:

  • Wikispaces group

  • Email

  • Google Talk(real-time)

  • AOS students flew to Singapore to consolidate findings and tie up loose ends.

  • Prepare for a Presentation & Research Paper to a panel of Singaporean Judges on the research findings


Research findings hci

Research Findings HCI

Conclusion: A keratin+PEO solution of concentration 10% is the optimal.

Restriction of resources and time.


Research findings aos

Research Findings AOS

A solution was found that produced good fibres of elastin and keratin. The solution was 5%w of elastin and keratin, 5% w PEO and a very low concentration of sodium chloride.

By varying the amount of moles of elastin and keratin in the initial solution, and electrospinning using the phase 2 variables, meshes with different ratios of elastin:keratin were electrospun

Different electrospinning Parameters including voltage and distance to the collector plate were varied to produce the best electrospun mesh from the initial solution.

Using SEM images and tensile testing results, it was discovered that a 1:4 ratio of elastin to keratin produced a material that was as extensible as spider silk, but not as strong.


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