, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 1855–1868 | Cite as

Coconut oil-cellulose beaded microfibers by coaxial electrospinning: An eco-model system to study thermoregulation of confined phase change materials

  • W. M. Ranodhi N. UdangawaEmail author
  • Charles F. Willard
  • Chiara Mancinelli
  • Caitlyn Chapman
  • Robert J. Linhardt
  • Trevor John Simmons
Original Research


Coconut oil was used to produce biomass microfibers with a coconut oil core and a cellulose shell by a co-axial electrospinning technique. This novel material was developed as a model system to determine the effect of confining a phase changing material within an axial micropore of a coaxial fiber. The morphology of these composite fibers was determined by scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, which revealed a unique beaded necklace morphology with sub-micron scale pockets of confined coconut oil. Thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry were employed to study the thermal behavior of the composite fibers. A significant increase of the specific heat capacity (+ 98%) was observed when the coconut oil was confined within the micropore of the composite fiber compared to the bulk. There was also a notable increase (+ 41%) of the specific heat of melting for the micropore confined coconut oil. Thus, coconut oil isolated in the axial micropore core of these cellulose composite fibers showed excellent potential for temperature regulation in the range of 7 to 22 °C, which includes 21 °C, the temperature which most humans find comfortable. The results of the studied model system can be used to tailor the properties of phase change materials in confined micropores, in both electrospun fibers and other mesoscale structures.

Graphical abstract


Cellulose Coconut oil Phase changing materials Electrospinning Core–shell microfiber composites 



The authors duly acknowledge the following people for their assistance in handling characterization instruments. Manager of electron microscopy laboratory Mr. Raymond P Dove for TEM assistance and Mr. David Frey, senior application engineer, center for integrated electronics for SEM assistance. Analytical core facility director Dr. Joel Morgan for TGA and DSC assistance. Mr. Josh Bostick, Mechanical Engineering Senior, RPI for assistance in designing the anti-static polycarbonate box. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow researchers and colleagues for their support rendered during this project.

Author’s Contributions

The study was performed by W.M.R.N.U., C.F.W., C.M. and C.C. and the manuscript was written by W.M.R.N.U. & R.J.L. All authors have given their approval to the final version of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declares that they do not have conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10570_2018_2151_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2695 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Chemical BiologyRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  4. 4.Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  5. 5.Heparin Applied Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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