Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Eric A Grulke

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph B. Zwischenberger


Hollow fiber membranes are widely used in blood oxygenators to remove carbon dioxide and add oxygen during cardiopulmonary bypass operations. These devices are now widely used off-label by physicians to perform extracorporeal blood oxygenation for patients with lung failure. Unfortunately, the hollow fiber membranes used in these devices fail prematurely due to blood plasma leakage and gas emboli formation.

This project formed ultrathin (~100nm) polymer coatings on polymer hollow fiber membranes. The coatings were intended to “block” existing pores on the exterior surfaces while permitting high gas fluxes. This coating is synthesized using surface imitated control radical polymerization.

The coating was durable and did not peel or degrade. Fibers modified using this coating technique did not substantially degrade the mechanical properties of the membrane. This coating technique prevented blood plasma leakage and gas emboli formation. The coating permitted blood oxygenation and carbon dioxide removal from in a mock circulation module.

Coating formation on polymeric hollow fiber membranes using surface initiated controlled radical polymerization allows for the formation of membranes that have the potential for long term blood oxygenation. This coating technique would allow these long term blood membranes to be produced more inexpensively than currently existing membranes used for long term use.