Alginate based composite scaffold for biomedical engineering applications

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Alginate is a natural polysaccharide polymer which is extracted from seaweed or bacteria. It forms gel with unique ability which widely used for medical applications. Alginate is limited in mechanical properties and abilities. This has led the possibility of improving the performance of using them. This study aims to enhance and understand the properties and applications of alginate-based materials for both engineering and biomedical scheme.

Firstly, conductive fibres were prepared to determine mechanical properties and electrical conductivity. Fibres were spun by wet spinning process, organic solvent and heated treatment were applied to improve their properties. The result shows that fibre with both treatments presented the highest in conductivity but the lowest in mechanical properties. It can be assumed by the result in the stimulated circuit that potential composite benefits to the smart textile and engineering applications.

Secondly, neurons were seeded into alginate based conductive films and observed at 7 and 14 days. Neuronal growth attached to the composite substrates which developed greater in axon compared to neat alginate films but still less than control well. It can be assumed that conductive composite was biocompatible and could be improved for tissue engineering.

Thirdly, controlled drug release was studied by loading ibuprofen into alginate and organoclay hydrogel to determine the release rate and physical properties. The clays contain cationic organic functionalities which non-covalently interact with anionic functional groups associated with alginate to produce self-supported hybrid hydrogel. Drug delivery was studied in water and room temperature and found that it was quick released in the beginning and slow release subsequently over 30h.

The research demonstrates a variety of methods and experiments which could be further explored and developed for biomedical engineering applications.
Date of Award24 Jun 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorIan Hamerton (Supervisor), Avinash J Patil (Supervisor) & Sameer Rahatekar (Supervisor)

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