Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Pharmaceutical Sciences


Chemistry and Biochemistry


College of Science & Mathematics


Xiao Hu, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Ping Lu, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Kandalam Ramanujachary, Ph.D.


Biomaterials, Electrospinning


Nanofibers; Biomedical materials


Materials Science and Engineering | Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry


The use of biocompatible and biodegradable composite materials for biomedical applications has attracted the attention of many researchers in the past few years. In this study, we fabricated nanofibers of silk fibroin and cellulose and its derivatives to amalgamate their unique properties into a single material. The production of these nanofibers via electrospinning is of particular interest, and whereas several studies have been done on normal nanofibers, the formation of branched nanofibers is an exciting area not currently explored. Blend solutions are formed by dissolving silk and cellulose/cellulose acetate in formic acid separately and mixing to achieve the desired ratios. Samples are electrospun in both the vertical and horizontal directions before undergoing water annealing treatment and characterization using the SEM, FTIR, TGA, and DSC. From SEM images, we find that samples spun vertically exhibit branching structures, whereas samples spun horizontally form normal nanofibers. Structural analysis shows that samples with high silk content retain the beta sheet structures and samples with high cellulose/cellulose acetate content show decreased content of random side chain groups. Thermal analysis shows that vertically spun samples are stronger than horizontally spun samples; this observation is likely due to the branching of the nanofibers. These results show that electrospinning can be used to fabricate branched nanofibers of silk-cellulose/cellulose acetate blends, a material that boasts attractive properties conducive to biomedical applications.