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Keywords:

  • biocompatibility;
  • biopolymers and renewable polymers;
  • composites;
  • properties and characterization

ABSTRACT

Biocomposite membranes from biodegradable and biocompatible natural polymers were prepared from sodium alginate solution reinforced with silk fibroin fibers in several fiber content by casting and solvent evaporation. The properties of these biocomposites were investigated by scanning electron microscopy, swelling test, water vapor transmission, mechanical and thermal analyses, and cytotoxicity test. A biocomposite with uniform fiber dispersion and good fiber–matrix interaction was obtained through the incorporation of fibroin fibers in the alginate membrane, even though the fibers were used without any surface treatment to enhance the interfacial adhesion. The incorporation of fibroin fibers improved the tensile strength and also provided a new property to the alginate, that is, the resistance to tear. Moreover, the use of silk fibroin fibers in polymeric composites can result in a material with adequate characteristics for application in the biomaterial field, especially as wound dressings, because of its nontoxic effect to cells, flexibility, and resistance to tear. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 3451–3457, 2013