Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project


Chemical Engineering

Research Sponsor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Dr. Gang Cheng

Second Reader

Dr. Edward A. Evans



Current demand for organs is greater than the supply of donated organs, which means that a new method of obtaining replacement organs needs to be found. The objective of the research is to evaluate the use of thermo-triggered self-rolling polymer tubes that can be used for scaffolds in tissue engineering. Additionally, the research also includes a method for forming polymer tubes through the removal of a sugar fiber, coated with a thin film of polymer, by dissolving it in deionized water. For the first approach, the effect of the aqueous environment and temperature on a polymer bilayer was observed in this research. In particular, the effect of the aqueous environment on the self-rolling ability of the polymer bilayer. Also, the effect of temperature on the swelling of the active gelatin layer. The active gelatin layer had a thickness of 577 nanometers and the passive polystyrene layer had a thickness of 275 nanometers. It was observed that with increased temperature the tube would begin to roll from end to end but, would not form a complete tube. For the second approach, hollow polymer tubes with diameters on a micrometer scale were easily produced. The self-rolling polymer micro-tubes were unsuccessful, simpler methods of polymer tube formation should be further sought to encapsulating cells for tissue engineering.