Solution Blow Spun Gelatin Based Hydrogel Fibres for Tissue Scaffolding

  • William Ambler

Student thesis: Phd


Since the turn of the century interest in tissue scaffolds has grown at an ever increasing rate. A tissue scaffold is a structure designed to support an existing tissue when it is damaged, and to facilitate the healing process wherever possible. Hydrogels are an ideal material from which tissue scaffolds are formed, as they are easily processed into a wide array of structures and, with judicious selection of the materials used to form them, can be used to directly stimulate cell growth. Gelatin is used extensively in this work as it is a naturally occurring polypeptide which is both biocompatible and contains the RGD peptide (cell adhesion) motif making it bioactive. The material properties and functionality of hydrogels are affected by both the architecture of the hydrogel, and the structure it is formed into. Three main architectures (molecular arrangement within the hydrogel) are investigated in this thesis: single networks (SNs), interpenetrating networks (IPNs), and inorganic-organic hybrids (IOHs). The structure of the hydrogel refers to the shapes the architectures are formed into, such as fibres or monoliths. Whilst there are numerous shapes, this thesis focuses on micro- and nano-fibres, and the benefits they bring to tissue scaffolds through their large surface area and their cell signalling ability. The work presented in this thesis aimed to develop a range of gelatin based hydrogel micro- and nano-fibres, from which complex tissue scaffolds can be developed. This was achieved through the production of multiple fibre types, including wet spun IPN fibres based on gelatin and alginate, and the solution blow spun IOH fibres from gelatin and silica. For each fibre type characterisation of fibre precursors, intermediary structures (designed to allow simple testing of material properties) and the fibres themselves were carried out. This led to an understanding of the processing parameters and the effect they have on the fibres themselves. In the course of the fibre development a method for functionalising gelatin to allow for photo-crosslinking was also developed to help prevent premature dissolution.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorNicola Tirelli (Supervisor) & Jonny Blaker (Supervisor)


  • Inorganic-Organic Hybrid
  • Gelatin
  • Solution Blow Spinning
  • Hyrdogels
  • Interpenetrating Network

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