Electrospun nanofibers manufactured from biocompatible materials are used in numerous bioengineering applications, such as tissue engineering, creating organoids or dressings, and drug delivery. In many of these applications, the morphological and mechanical properties of the single fiber affect their function. We used a combined atomic force microscope (AFM)/optical microscope technique to determine the mechanical properties of nanofibers that were electrospun from a 50:50 fibrinogen:PCL (poly-ε-caprolactone) blend. Both of these materials are widely available and biocompatible. Fibers were spun onto a striated substrate with 6 μm wide grooves, anchored with epoxy on the ridges and pulled with the AFM probe. The fibers showed significant strain softening, as the modulus decreased from an initial value of 1700 MPa (5–10% strain) to 110 MPa (>40% strain). Despite this extreme strain softening, these fibers were very extensible, with a breaking strain of 100%. The fibers exhibited high energy loss (up to 70%) and strains larger than 5% permanently deformed the fibers. These fibers displayed the stress–strain curves of a ductile material. We provide a comparison of the mechanical properties of these blended fibers with other electrospun and natural nanofibers. This work expands a growing library of mechanically characterized, electrospun materials for biomedical applications.
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