Melt Electrowriting (MEW)

Electrostatic spinning (electrospinning) is a manufacturing process that draws fibers using electrical instabilities and is researched extensively to make filters, textiles and tissue engineering scaffolds. The vast majority of researchers use solution electrospinning, while only a fraction investigate melts (1, 2). In general, electrospinning is not been considered an additive manufacturing technique, although near-field electrospinning is well recognized in the electrospinning community. There is, however, an underlying electrohydrodynamic (EHD) phenomenon for near-field electrospinning that is not well-appreciated.

In melt electrostatic writing (melt electrowriting), translating collectors are used to place defined microfibers in a way that opens up new possibilities for many applications (3). Melt Electrowriting (MEW) allows not just the rapid solidification of an electrified jet, it permits the stacking of fibers to cm lengths. MEW is solvent-free, and GMP-manufactured polymers can be used as received. As an additive manufacturing process, it allows such design principles to manufacture new, orderly microstructures (4, 5).

The possibilities are endless – we can produce new complex structures that can be used in a multitude of tissue engineering applications. Reproducible, accurate and continuous – our suite of custom-built MEW printers are running 24/7 to make exciting new products for medicine.

References

  1. Dalton PD, Vaquette C, Farrugia B, Dargaville TR, Brown TD, Hutmacher DW. Electrospinning and Additive Manufacturing: Converging Technologies. Biomaterials Science, 1, 171.
  2. Hutmacher DW & Dalton PD (2011) Melt Electrospinning. Chem Asian J, 6, 44-56.
  3. Brown TD, Dalton PD, Hutmacher DW. (2011) Direct Writing by Way of Melt Electrospinning. Advanced Materials, 23, 5651-57.
  4. Brown TD, Slotosch A, Thibaudeau L, Taubenberger A, Loessner D, Vaquette C, Dalton PD, Hutmacher DW. (2012) Design and fabrication of tubular scaffolds by direct writing in a melt electrospinning mode. Biointerphases, 7, 13, DOI 10.1007/s13758-011-0013-7.
  5. Farrugia B, Brown TD, Hutmacher DW, Upton Z, Dalton PD, Dargaville TR (2013) Dermal fibroblast infiltration of poly(ε–caprolactone) scaffolds fabricated by melt electrospinning in a direct writing mode. Biofabrication, 5, 025001.