Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 2456-2465

First online:

Effect of annealing on aqueous stability and elastic modulus of electrospun poly(vinyl alcohol) fibers

  • Kenneth Kar Ho WongAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Biophysics, The University of Western Ontario
  • , Martin Zinke-AllmangAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Biophysics, The University of Western OntarioDepartment of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Western Ontario
  • , Wankei WanAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Fordham Center for Biomedical Engineering, The University of Western Ontario Email author 

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Electrospun poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) fibers rapidly dissolve in water. Their aqueous stability can be improved by annealing using a combination of controlled temperature and treatment time. The increase in aqueous stability of the PVA fibers is associated with an increase in PVA crystallinity and is defined by X-ray diffraction and the ratio of the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy band intensities at 1141 and 1425 cm−1. A ratio of intensity of these two infrared bands ≥2.5 or ~75% and above in the degree of crystallinity as determined by X-ray diffraction indicates fiber stability in water. Annealing treatment also results in an increase in the stiffness of the fibers. At a treatment temperature of 135 °C for 4 h, the elastic modulus of the fiber increased by 80%. This information is useful when these fibers are being considered for applications in an aqueous environment such as membrane filter or tissue scaffold.