E-gel Films and Natural Silk Mats: Novel Processes for the Creation of Functional Silk Surfaces.
Abstract: Silk is a
material with a history dating back thousands of years. Despite this precedent, the past
few years have witnessed the launch of a new silk renaissance, one that leverages our
ability to solubilize and reform silk cocoons to create materials including films, gels,
and tissue engineering scaffolds. Further, these products are easily functionalized
through the direct addition... read moreof chemical or biological agents in solution. Two techniques
that are introduced here represent new approaches for the fabrication of functional silk
surfaces: E-gel films and natural silk mats. E-gel films rely upon the application of
direct current to a regenerated silk solution while using a ring-shaped anode. Notably,
this approach allows for films with a range of three-dimensional topologies to be
formed, with exceptionally low surface roughness on the order of Angstroms. Natural silk
mats are spun directly by the silkworm through influencing its innate behavior,
constraining the heights available for the creation of anchor points. A threshold height
is approximated below which silkworms will spin flat sheets and above which they will
encapsulate themselves in cocoons. Furthermore, the resulting mats can be functionalized
through the addition of drugs, dyes, and other molecules directly to the silkworm's
mulberry leaf-based diet. Functional materials, including antibacterial silk, were
produced and validated in this study.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering.
Advisor: Fiorenzo Omenetto.
Committee: David Kaplan, and Gary Leisk.
Keyword: Biomedical engineering.read less