The authors report a new technique for fabricating synthetic vascular grafts. It involves spraying a polymer solution (generated by mixing polymer solution and nitrogen gas in a spray nozzle) onto the surface of a flowing nonsolvent liquid (water): polymer fibers form during precipitation of the spray drops as they travel on the water surface, until picked up by a partially submerged rotating mandrel. Depending on process conditions, these fibers may aggregate to form a continuous layer or remain separated until they are picked up. A number of independent process variables allow control of characteristics of the conduits: gas and polymer solution feed rates, nozzle traverse speed, nonsolvent (water) flow rate, spray-mandrel spacing, and mandrel rpm. The SEM reveals that the graft wall consists of numerous fused polymeric fibers arrayed in both the circumferential and axial directions. The inner surface resembles a mesh of closely spaced fused fibers. The conduits have walls with interconnected pores (water permeabilities between 0.05 to 7.0 ml/min-cm2); nonporous surfaces also can be made. Tensile stress of the grafts at failure (in radial direction) varied between 0.05 to 2.3 MPa, whereas elongation at break ranged between 150 to 600%, depending on the porosity and fabrication conditions. A major advantage on the technique is its ability to produce grafts of a wide variety of fiber sizes and fusion characteristics in an inexpensive, safe, and reliable fashion.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - 1988|
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