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Materials 2017, 10(4), 355; doi:10.3390/ma10040355

Ice as a Green-Structure-Directing Agent in the Synthesis of Macroporous MWCNTs and Chondroitin Sulphate Composites

1
Materials Science Factory, Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Campus de Cantoblanco, C/Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 3, 28049-Madrid, Spain
2
Departamento de Física, Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Rua Marquês de São Vicente 225, Gavea 22451-900, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3
Laboratory of Interfaces for Neural Repair, Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos, Servicio de Salud de Castilla-La Mancha, Finca de la Peraleda s/n, 45071-Toledo, Spain
4
Departamento de Tecnología Química y Energética, Tecnologia Química y Ambiental y Tecnología Mecánica y Química Analítica, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, 28933-Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mady Elbahri
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 28 March 2017
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Abstract

The incorporation of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) into chondroitin sulphate-based scaffolds and the effect on the structural, mechanical, conductive, and thermal properties of the resulting scaffolds is investigated. Three-dimensional hierarchical materials are prepared upon the application of the ice segregation-induced self-assembly (ISISA) process. The use of ice as structure-directing agents avoids chemicals typically used for this purpose (e.g., surfactants, block copolymers, etc.), hence, emphasising the green features of this soft-templating approach. We determine the critical parameters that control the morphology of the scaffolds formed upon ice-templating (i.e., MWCNTs type, freezing conditions, polymer and MWCNT concentration). MWCNTs are surface functionalized by acidic treatment. MWCNT functionalization is characterized by Raman, Fourier transfer infrared (FTIR) and X-ray Photoelectron (XPS) spectroscopies. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis and porosity studies reveal that MWCNT content modifies the morphology of the macroporous structure, which decreases by increasing MWCNT concentration. Differences in scaffold morphology should be translated into their conductivity and mechanical properties. As a general trend, the Young’s modulus and the electrical conductivity of the scaffolds increase with the MWCNT content. Preliminary biocompatibility tests with human osteoblast-like cells also reveal the capability of these structures to support cell growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: chondroitin sulphate; freeze-casting; hierarchical materials; multi-walled carbon nanotubes; porous materials; scaffold chondroitin sulphate; freeze-casting; hierarchical materials; multi-walled carbon nanotubes; porous materials; scaffold
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nardecchia, S.; Serrano, M.C.; García-Argüelles, S.; Maia Da Costa, M.E.H.; Ferrer, M.L.; Gutiérrez, M.C. Ice as a Green-Structure-Directing Agent in the Synthesis of Macroporous MWCNTs and Chondroitin Sulphate Composites. Materials 2017, 10, 355.

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