Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Rachael A. Oldinski

Second Advisor

Daniel J. Weiss


Lung diseases, cancers, and trauma can result in injury to the connective tissue lining the lung, i.e., the pleura. Pleural injuries lead to pneumothoraxes or pleural effusions, i.e., air or fluid leaking out of the lung respectively, and potential lung collapse - an immediately life threatening condition. While several bioengineered soft tissue sealants exist on the market, there is only one sealant FDA-approved for use in pulmonary surgery. In addition, very limited techniques are presented in the literature for characterizing the burst properties of hydrogel tissue sealants. For my thesis, I proposed to develop a protocol for characterizing the burst properties of hydrogel sealants using a novel burst pressure test chamber. I further proposed a novel combination of oxidation and methacrylation reactions of alginate for tissue sealant applications, with a particular focus on developing a pulmonary sealant. The proposed research objectives are: 1) To develop protocol for testing hydrogel sealants for soft tissue applications; 2) To verify alginate as a potential for tissue sealant applications; and 3) To optimize an alginate hydrogel sealant and perform ex vivo analysis for a pleural sealant application. Alginate materials with varying degrees of oxidation and methacrylation were synthesized and characterized. Oscillatory rheometry was used to characterize material properties such as viscosity, hydrogel gelation kinetics, and complex moduli. Burst pressure measurements properties and failure mechanisms, i.e. delamination or material failure, were collected for a liquid and dry-state application. Preliminary ex vivo mouse lung model testing demonstrated that methacrylated alginate hydrogels are able to withstand physiological pressures associated with breathing, and failure occurs within the hydrogel for adhesive alginate-based tissue sealants.



Number of Pages

58 p.