Porous materials are widely used, including in biomedical, industrial and household applications. Specific examples of these materials span from scaffolding for tissue engineering and regeneration, wound dressings, drug release matrices, to insulating or package material, impact absorbers, and membranes and filters. One of the limiting factors of such porous materials is their susceptibility to their environmental conditions; for instance, some polymers may be stable in air, but dissolve in organic solvents, which significantly restrict their use.
An inventor at the University of Michigan has developed a method to overcome this limitation by modifying the 3-dimensional (3D) porous material with interconnected pores to render them substantially more stable in a given environment. This can be accomplished in several ways; first is to crosslink the surfaces of a porous material, but in cases where the 3-dimensional porous material cannot withstand its environment, it may be coated. In the latter case, the coating itself may be crosslinked. Examples of polymers and macromolecules that may be used as porous material or as coating include water soluble polymers (such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyvinylchloride (PVC), polyethylenes (PE), and polypropylenes (PE)), hydrophobic monomers for in situ polymerization (such as acrylates, methacrylates, ethylene, propylene), and biodegradable polymers and molecules (such as poly(L-lactic acid), poly (D,L-lacticl acid), and polyglycolic acid). In additon, many amphiphilic natural macromolecules can be used to form porous materials and/or coating.
Applications and Advantages
- 3D scaffold for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
- Wound dressing and drug release matrices
- Insulating or packaging material
- Membranes and filters
- Retains interconnectivity of pores within a 3D matrix, while making the structure more stable in various environments