Electrospinning of sulfobetaine methacrylate nanofibers
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Sulfobetaine methacrylate (SBMA) is a zwitterionic polymer that has been shown to have nonfouling properties. This resistance to nonspecific protein adsorption makes the polymer a good candidate for filtration applications. In this work, the preparation of polySBMA nanofibers by electrospinning was investigated. The SBMA was polymerized to different molecular weights by controlling the concentration of KCl in the polymerization solution. It was shown that by increasing the concentration of KCl, the molecular weight of the polySBMA was decreased for a given reaction time. In order to electrospin polySBMA nanofibers, solutions were prepared using aqueous NaCl with varying concentrations. As expected, it was shown that as the molecular weight of the polySBMA increases, there is a related increase in fiber diameter. The effect of the NaCl salt concentration in the electrospinning solution presented less of a trend. Larger salt concentrations produced larger fibers, however when the salt concentration was above 0.5M NaCl or below 0.25M NaCl, the fibers were not distinct or well-defined. Protein adsorption testing confirmed that the polySBMA nanofibers retained their nonfouling properties after electrospinning. Overall, polySBMA nanofibers with a range of diameters were able to be formed by controlling the electrospinning conditions, and they represent a promising nonfouling material for use as filtration membranes.
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