Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical and Chemical Engineering


Zhao Qin

Subject Categories

Chemical Engineering | Engineering


Approximately 6 million patients suffer from chronic wounds each year. These wounds are highly susceptible to infection and subsequent biofilm formation. Biofilms are difficult to dislodge due to their protective extracellular matrix. Antibiotics cannot penetrate the biofilm matrix, so wound healing is often compromised. Current surveillance and treatment options, such as swabbing or dressings, are ineffective and often painful to the patient. Our approach is to employ a bacterial protease-responsive shape memory polymer (SMP) that combats biofilm formation and helps the healing process proceed. To aid in protease penetration and enhance wound dressing comfort, electrospinning can be used to produce fibrous SMP scaffolds. This study determines how different electrospinning parameters can affect the shape memory and mechanical properties of our SMPs to better understand the electrospinning process. After synthesis, the SMPs were dissolved in either 5 ml of chloroform or 4 ml of chloroform/1 ml of dimethylformamide (DMF) for the electrospinning process. A rotating drum with aluminum foil was rotated at 400, 1000, or 2000 rpm for fiber mat collection. Resulting fibers were characterized in terms of morphology, mechanical and shape memory properties, and cytocompatibility. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed that fiber diameter and tortuosity could be tuned using varied solvents and/or collector rotation speeds. With increased fiber diameter and tortuosity, tensile strength and modulus increased. All scaffolds demonstrated >97% recovery, >56% fixity, and rapid shape change in response to heating. Electrospinning provides a tool for tuning mechanical and shape memory properties independently from chemistry, which could enable bacteria-responsive wound dressings for rapid infection surveillance and more effective treatment in future work.


Open Access

Available for download on Saturday, June 21, 2025