Cellulose aerogels (CAs) from plant or bacterial-derived cellulose have advantages such as low density, high porosity, and high specific surface area and have been used in various applications including biomedical fields. One limiting factor in developing CAs is their demanding shaping process since it involves several steps of dissolution/dispersion of cellulose, geometry configurations using molds or nozzles, coagulation and washing of the gel body, and drying techniques. CA fibers can be converted into textiles and enhance the design ability, stiffness, and flexibility of the CAs. This study aims to understand the correlations between the initial cellulose characteristics, aerogel’s internal structure, and its prospective biomedical application. Wet-spun CA fibers were obtained by supercritical CO2
drying from low and high molecular weight microcrystalline cellulose in calcium thiocyanate tetrahydrate solution. Fiber spinning, thermal behavior, textural properties, and biological assessments of the CA fibers were inspected. The CA microfibers from high molecular weight cellulose proved to have a higher surface area (~197 m2
/g), denser structure, and finer nanofibrils (~2 nm) with better thermal stability in comparison with the fibers produced from low molecular weight cellulose. The fibers were nontoxic, and cell proliferation was observed over time. CA fibers showed promising results to be used for biomedical applications such as tissue engineering and wound care.
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