Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Effect of Surface Interactions on Adhesion of Electrospun Meshes on Substrates

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Fall 11-3-2014


Despite the importance of adhesion between electrospun meshes and substrates, the knowledge on adhesion mechanism and the method to improve the adhesion remain limited. Here, we precisely design the model system based on electrospun poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) meshes and the substrate of styrene-b-(ethylene-co-butylene)-b-styrene elastomer (SEBS), and quantitatively measure the adhesion with a weight method. The surfaces of SEBS with different roughness are obtained by casting SEBS solution on the smooth and rough glass slides, respectively. Then, the surfaces of casted SEBS are respectively grafted with PEG oligomers and long PEG chains much larger than the entanglement molecular weight by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP) of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (PEGMA). The detached surfaces of SEBS and electrospun fibers after adhesion measurements are analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The adhesive force and adhesion energy are found to lie in the range from 68 to 220 mN and from 12 to 46 mJ/m2, respectively, which are slightly affected by surface roughness of substrate but mainly determined by surface interactions. Just as the chemical cross-linking induces the strong adhesion, the chain entanglements on the interface lead to the higher adhesion than those generated by hydrophilic–hydrophobic interactions and hydrophilic interactions. The long grafted chains and the enhanced temperature facilitate the chain entanglements, resulting in the strong adhesive force. This work sheds new light on the adhesion mechanism at molecular level, which may be helpful to improve the adhesion between the electrospun fibers and substrates in an environmentally friendly manner.

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