In Situ Alignment of Bacterial Cellulose Using Wrinkling
A scalable method for the assembly of oriented bacterial cellulose (BC) films is presented based on using wrinkled thin silicone substrates of meter-square size as templates during biotechnological syntheses of BC. Control samples, including flat templated and template-free bacterial cellulose, along with the oriented BC, are morphologically characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Multiple functional properties including wettability, birefringence, mechanical strength, crystallinity, water retention, thermal stability, etc., are being characterized for the BC samples, where the wrinkling-induced in situ BC alignment not only significantly improved material mechanical properties (both strength and toughness) but also endowed unique material surface characteristics such as wettability, crystallinity, and thermal stability. Owing to the enhanced properties observed, potential applications of wrinkle templated BC in printing and cell culture are being demonstrated as a proof of concept, which renders their approach promising for various biomedical and packaging applications.