Manufacturing of biocompatible nonwoven structures by using spray atomization of dissolved polymers



The use of porous polymer materials for vascular prostheses demonstrates promising results. Fleece-like nonwoven structures can be generated by atomization of dissolved polycarbonate urethanes. This article focuses on the manufacturing process for the fleece structures. The solution is atomized through a high volume low pressure nozzle. The solvent evaporates during time of flight to target, so that small fibers are formed from each drop of solution. By using different rotating molds and positioning systems, tubular shapes or open surfaces can be generated. The manufacturing process is described in detail. In a simple comparison with electrospinning, the process shows its superior throughput of material. Problems with the process and their possible solutions are shown. The influence of certain basic parameters on the generated nonwoven material is discussed. The manufactured structures are inspected for their mechanical properties and their permeability for water and blood. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:867–873, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers