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Tailored fibro-porous structure of electrospun polyurethane membranes, their size-dependent properties and trans-membrane glucose diffusion

Wang, Ning, Burugapalli, Krishna, Song, Wenhui, Halls, Justin, Moussy, Francis, Zheng, Yudong, Ma, Yanxuan, Wu, Zhentao, Li, Kang
Journal of membrane science 2013 v.427 pp. 207-217
artificial membranes, coatings, diffusivity, glucose, hydrophobicity, mass transfer, permeability, polyurethanes, porosity, solvents
The aim of this study was to develop polyurethane (PU) based fibro-porous membranes and to investigate the size-effect of hierarchical porous structure on permeability and surface properties of the developed electrospun membranes. Non-woven Selectophore™ PU membranes having tailored fibre diameters, pore sizes, and thickness were spun using electrospinning, and their chemical, physical and glucose permeability properties were characterised. Solvents, solution concentration, applied voltage, flow rate and distance to collector, each were systematically investigated, and electrospinning conditions for tailoring fibre diameters were identified. Membranes having average fibre diameters—347, 738 and 1102nm were characterized, revealing average pore sizes of 800, 870 and 1060nm and pore volumes of 44%, 63% and 68% respectively. Hydrophobicity increased with increasing fibre diameter and porosity. Effective diffusion coefficients for glucose transport across the electrospun membranes varied as a function of thickness and porosity, indicating high flux rates for mass transport. Electrospun PU membranes having significantly high pore volumes, extensively interconnected porosity and tailorable properties compared to conventional solvent cast membranes can find applications as coatings for sensors requiring analyte exchange.