Electrospinning is one of the most investigated methods used to produce polymeric fiber structures that mimic the fiber morphology of native extracellular matrix. These structures have been extensively studied in the context of scaffolds for tissue regeneration. However, the compactness of materials obtained by traditional electrospinning, collected as two-dimensional non-woven membranes, can limit cell infiltration and tissue ingrowth. In addition, for applications in smooth muscle tissue engineering, highly elastic scaffolds capable of withstanding cyclic mechanical strains without suffering significant permanent deformations are preferred. In order to address these challenges, we report the fabrication of microscale 3D helically coiled structures (referred as 3D-HCS) by wet-electrospinning method, a modification of the traditional electrospinning process in which a coagulation bath (non-solvent system for the electrospun material) is used as the collector. The present study successfully demonstrates the feasibility of using this method to process segmented copolyester poly(butylene succinate-co-dilinoleic succinate) (PBS-DLS), a thermoplastic elastomer, into 3D helically coiled structures (HCS). A mechanism for the HCS formation is proposed and verified with experimental data. Fabricated 3D-HCS showed high specific surface area, high porosity, and good elasticity. Further, the marked increase in cell proliferation on 3D-HCS confirmed the suitability of these materials as scaffolds for soft tissue engineering.
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