Controlling the porosity of fibrous scaffolds by modulating the fiber diameter and packing density

Sherif Soliman, Shilpa Sant, Jason W. Nichol, Masoud Khabiry, Enrico Traversa, Ali Khademhosseini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

240 Scopus citations


Porosity has been shown to be a key determinant of the success of tissue engineered scaffolds. A high degree of porosity and an appropriate pore size are necessary to provide adequate space for cell spreading and migration as well as to allow for proper exchange of nutrients and waste between the scaffold and the surrounding environment. Electrospun scaffolds offer an attractive approach for mimicking the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) for tissue engineering applications. The efficacy of electrospinning is likely to depend on the interaction between cells and the geometric features and physicochemical composition of the scaffold. A major problem in electrospinning is the tendency of fibers to accumulate densely, resulting in poor porosity and small pore size. The porosity and pore sizes in the electrospun scaffolds are mainly dependent on the fiber diameter and their packing density. Here we report a method of modulating porosity in three dimensional (3D) scaffolds by simultaneously tuning the fiber diameter and the fiber packing density. Nonwoven poly(ε- caprolactone) mats were formed by electrospinning under various conditions to generate sparse or highly dense micro- and nanofibrous scaffolds and characterized for their physicochemical and biological properties. We found that microfibers with low packing density resulted in improved cell viability, proliferation and infiltration compared to tightly packed scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-574
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Volume96 A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • electrospinning
  • poly(ε-caprolactone)
  • pore size
  • porosity
  • scaffold
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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