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Fabrication of Piezoelectric Electrospun Termite Nest-like 3D Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

A high piezoelectric coefficient polymer and biomaterial for bone tissue engineering— poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP)—has been successfully fabricated into 3D scaffolds using the wet electrospinning method. Three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds have significant advantages for tissue engineering applications. Electrospinning is an advanced method and can fabricate 3D scaffolds. However, it has some limitations and is difficult to fabricate nanofibers into 3D shapes because of the low controllability of porosity and internal pore shape. The PVDF-HFP powders were dissolved in a mixture of acetone and dimethylformamide with a ratio of 1:1 at various concentrations of 10, 13, 15, 17, and 20 wt%. However, only the solutions at 15 and 17 wt% with optimized electrospinning parameters can be fabricated into biomimetic 3D shapes. The produced PVDF-HFP 3D scaffolds are in the cm size range and mimic the structure of the natural nests of termites of the genus Apicotermes. In addition, the 3D nanofiber-based structure can also generate more electrical signals than the conventional 2D ones, as the third dimension provides more compression. The cell interaction with the 3D nanofibers scaffold was investigated. The in vitro results demonstrated that the NIH 3T3 cells could attach and migrate in the 3D structures. While conventional electrospinning yields 2D (flat) structures, our bio-inspired electrospun termite nest-like 3D scaffolds are better suited for tissue engineering applications since they can potentially mimic native tissues as they have biomimetic structure, piezoelectric, and biological properties.

Publication date: 13/12/2021

Author: Thanapon Muenwacha

Reference: doi: 10.3390/ma14247684

MDPI (materials)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.