Structured Nanofibre-Textile Composite

  • Xiaoxi Li

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


The study was to develop innovative textile structures combining high-performance biopolymer polylactic acid (PLA) filaments with functional electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibres for potential applications in the medical field. Both PLA and PCL are known for their superb biocompatibility and biodegradability, thus in biological and medical related fields they have been widely explored as biomaterials. The structured nano-composite was designed to be shoe-string shaped. It was transformed from nano-composite with a sandwich structure, which was composed of an interlayer of PLA filaments, and two covering layers of eletrospun nanofibrous PCL films. There were generally three steps for manufacturing the structured nanofibre-textile composite: 1) designing the structure of the interlayer; 2) nanocoating on both sides of the interlayer through electrospinning to form the two covering layers; 3) processing the semi-finished product with textile methods. During the research, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to characterize the nanofibrous PCL covering layers; dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) was used to study the mechanical properties of the semi-finished nano-composite; the Instron Test was conducted for investigating the tensile strength of the final structured nano-composite. For the interlayer, three structures were designed: parallel filaments, plain weave and a two-layer structure combining plain weave with a top layer of parallel PLA filaments in the bias direction. Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis (DMTA) showed that the product with the two-layer structure had the best mechanical performance. For the covering layer, the electrospinning nanocoating process was affected by a number of parameters including solution properties, room temperature, flow rate, applied voltage, coating time, working distance and coating distance. The SEM images showed that different combinations of these parameters had varying effects on morphology and size of the nanofibre, and thus mechanical properties of the nano-composite.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHugh Gong (Supervisor)


  • nanofibre
  • textile structure
  • electrospinning

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