Fabrication of poly(lactic acid)-poly(ethylene oxide) electrospun membranes with controlled micro to nanofiber sizes
Biodegradable poly(L-lactide acid) (PLLA) nanofiber membranes were prepared by electrospinning of PLLA and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO). The selective removal of PEO by water allows to obtain smaller fiber diameters and to increase the porosity of the membranes in comparison to PLLA membranes obtained under the same electrospinning conditions. After removal of PEO membranes with fiber sizes of 260 nm and average porosity close to 80% are obtained. Thermal and infrared results confirm the poor miscibility of PLLA and PEO, with the PEO randomly distributed along the PLLA fibers. On the other, PLLA and PEO mixing strongly affect their respective degradation temperatures. The influence of the PEO in the electrospinning process is discussed and the results are correlated to the evolution of the PLLA fiber diameter.