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From Macromolecule to Nanofiber: Electrospinning Just the Technique for the Job

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Curriculum Exchange II

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.656.1 - 25.656.5



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Paper Authors


Sonja Turner North Carolina A&T State University

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Sonja Turner was a middle/high school science teacher for about 17 years. She is a graduate of Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., where she completed her bachelor's in biology. She has attended many science education workshops and completed 12 hours of graduate level science courses. After being selected as a candidate to participate in the NSF-ERC Research Experience for Teachers Program on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, she decided to enroll in graduate school full-time in the area of bioengineering. After completing her degree, it is her intent to help young people explore and develop a love for and a joy of exploring science.

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Narayan Bhattarai North Carolina A&T State University

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Narayan Bhattarai is an Assistant Professor of bioengineering, Department of Chemical and Bioengineering, North Carolina A&T State University, 1601 E. Market St., Greensboro, NC, 2741. Bhattarai teaches biomaterials and nanotechnology to undergraduate and graduate students. Bhattarai is one of the investigators of the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center for Revolutionized Metallic Biomaterials (ERC-RMB). Bhattarai also mentors middle and high school science teachers to improve contents in their curriculum .

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Dhananjay Kumar North Carolina A&T State University

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Dhananjay Kumar is an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. His areas of research are thin films and nanomaterials. He teaches classes in materials science, advanced materials, and nanotechnology.

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From Macromolecule to Nanofiber: Electrospinning Just the Technique forthe JobNarayan Bhattarai1 & Sonja Turner21 North Carolina A&T State University, Department of Chemical and Bioengineering,Greensboro, NC2 Middle Grades Science Teacher, Kernodle Middle School, Greensboro, NCOur main objective is to expose middle school and high school students to different techniquesused by scientists, researchers, bioengineers and engineers that assist doctors and with cuttingedge applications used in tissue regeneration, bone repair, and medical implants for human bodyrepair. Our second objective is to help students understand the importance of differentdisciplines working together.Carbohydrates are one of the four major macromolecules found in living organisms. There aretwo primary components that make up carbohydrates; sugars and starches. The termmacromolecule denotes a large molecule, such as a polymer or protein, consisting of smallerstructural units linked together. The macromolecule of focus in this presentation will be sugar.There is one particular form in which this macromolecule grabs the eyes of youth and adultseverywhere. When this macromolecule is transformed into a fiber like material and color isadded, there is a twinkle in the eyes of carnival goers everywhere. But how is this big moleculetransformed into a stringy fibrous material that appears like a well spun spider web? Furthermorewhat does this have to do with bioengineering, nanoscience, students’ grades 6th-12th graders?There are many kinds of macromolecules that provide scientists with answers to very complexquestions about possible cures and medical benefits. Researchers, chemists, doctors,bioengineers, engineers, and others work together to find ways to use very large molecules tobenefit those who are injured and or ill with life threatening diseases through drug therapy, drugdelivery, tissue regeneration, and the coating of screws and pins used to fuse broken bones.Scientist has discovered that in order for these macromolecules to be used and of full benefit,they must be transformed into very small molecules that go beyond the vision of the naked eyeas well as what is viewed by using a light microscope. These polymers must be transformed tonano (10-9 meters) scale sized architecture in order for cells to communicate.The purpose of this demonstration is to provide students with a visual of how largemacromolecules can be turned into very small fibers. This demonstration will help studentsassociate something they recognize and enjoy with a technique that is a foundational and a vitallink to cures and healing injuries in the human body. Scientists use the technique, known aselectrospinning, to turn macromolecules into fibrous materials that can be used in drug therapy,tissue regeneration, and bone repair. Electrospinning is currently the only technique that allowsthe fabrication of continuous fibers with diameters down to nanoscale.

Turner, S., & Bhattarai, N., & Kumar, D. (2012, June), From Macromolecule to Nanofiber: Electrospinning Just the Technique for the Job Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21413

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