Faculty Advisor

Thomas H. Jozefiak, Ph.D.

Faculty Advisor

Art J. Coury, Ph.D.

Faculty Advisor

Richard D. Sisson, Jr., Ph.D.

Faculty Advisor

Satya Shivkumarf, Ph.D.


"In situ polymerizing hydrogel systems play an important role in many tissue engineering applications. They have proven to be useful in biomedical applications that require conversion of liquid macromer solution to tissue compliant hydrogel under physiological conditions. A series of poly(ethylene glycol)-co-poly(lactate) diacrylate macromers were synthesized with variable PEG molecular weight and lactate content. The macromer compositions were confirmed by NMR spectroscopy and ion chromatography. These macromers were polymerized to form hydrogels by free radical polymerization using either redox or photochemical initiators. The current study focused on the optimization of polymerization conditions. Compressive modulus and residual acrylate analysis were used to evaluate polymerization efficiency. To characterize the network structure, the swelling ratio values were converted to the average molecular weight between crosslinks ( ) and mesh sizes (ξ) using Flory-Rehner theory. Current study suggested hydrophobic modification is desired to achieve high polymerization efficiency. Electrospinning is a developing technique to produce ultra fine fibrous structures from polymer solutions. Current research efforts have focused on understanding the effects of principal parameters such as molecular weight distribution (MWD) and polymer surfactant interactions on the morphology of the electrospun patterns. Fundamental understanding of the dilute solution rheology of the polydisperse polymer/solvent and polymer/solvent/surfactant systems was first established. Using viscometry, the on-set of entanglement concentrations could be obtained for various systems. Electrospinning was then carried out to evaluate the effects of polymer molecular weight, molecular weight distribution (MWD) and the polymer-surfactant interaction on the fiber formation and morphological features. The importance of increased chain entanglements due to high molecular weight component within the polydisperse system and the expansion of the coil dimension by binding the surfactant micelles have been recognized. The critical concentrations for incipient as well as stable fiber formation were determined. "


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Materials Science & Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





electrospinning, polymerization, in situ, photoinitiator, free radical, redox initiator, hydrogel