A portable, handheld electrospinning apparatus is designed and constructed using off-the-shelf components and 3D-printed parts. The portable electrospinner is used to generate nanofibers with diameters ranging from 85 to 600 nm; examination of these fibers is achieved with scanning electron microscopy. This portable electrospinner has similar capabilities to standard stationary benchtop electrospinners in terms of the diversity of polymers the device is able to spin into nanofibers and their resulting size and morphology. However, it provides much more ambulatory flexibility, employs current-limiting measures that allow for safer operation and is cost effective. As a demonstration of the device’s unique application space afforded by its portability, the device is applied in direct-to-skin electrospinning to improve the aesthetics of simulated hair loss in a mouse model by electrospinning dyed polyacrylonitrile nanofibers that mimic hair. The superficial nanofiber treatment for thinning hair is able to achieve an improvement in appearance similar to that of a commercially available powder product but outperforms the powder in the nanofiber’s superior adherence to the affected area. The portable electrospinning apparatus overcomes many limitations of immobile benchtop electrospinners and holds promise for applications in consumer end-use scenarios such as the treatment of alopecia via cosmetic hair thickening.
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