Enhanced piezoelectric response of hybrid biodegradable 3D poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) scaffolds coated with hydrothermally deposited ZnO for biomedical applications

Andrei S. Zviagin, Roman V. Chernozem, Maria A. Surmeneva, Myeongwhun Pyeon, Michael Frank, Tim Ludwig, Peter Tutacz, Yurii F. Ivanov, Sanjay Mathur, Roman A. Surmenev

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Fibrous scaffolds based on biodegradable piezoelectric poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) polymers were fabricated via electrospinning. Hydrothermal deposition of zinc oxide (ZnO) on the surfaces of fibrous PHB scaffolds resulted in a homogeneous ZnO layer that grew conformally on the porous polymeric scaffold. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) results confirmed the formation of a hexagonal wurtzite crystal structure of ZnO on the PHB fibres. XRD patterns, TEM and EDS analysis revealed a bimodal morphology with rod-like nanostructures that grew preferentially along the c-axis as well as nanoparticles that grew randomly. The piezoelectric charge coefficient d 33 for pristine PHB scaffolds was 2.9 ± 0.1 pC⋅N −1 , whereas after ZnO deposition, it substantially increased to 13.7 ± 1.6 pC⋅N −1 . Moreover, the output surface electrical potential of PHB scaffolds after ZnO deposition also substantially increased from 0.58 ± 0.02 to 0.88 ± 0.04 V, showing enhanced electromechanical coupling in the piezoelectric nanocomposites. The output surface electric potential for ZnO-coated PHB scaffolds was stable within 1200 loading cycles. In addition, the ZnO rod-like nanostructured surface improved the wettability of PHB fibrous scaffolds, demonstrating synergy between the ceramic and polymeric phases in PHB/ZnO composites. Therefore, the hybrid biodegradable piezoelectric scaffolds reported in the present study are potentially useful for biomedical applications, where both improved piezoelectric response and surface wettability are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-279
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Polymer Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019



  • Hybrid polymer scaffolds
  • Hydrothermal treatment
  • Piezoelectricity
  • Wettability
  • Zinc oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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