Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Hui Zhao

Second Committee Member

Jeremy Cho

Third Committee Member

Kwang Kim

Fourth Committee Member

Shengjie Zhai

Fifth Committee Member

Hui Zhang

Number of Pages



Due to its high biocompatibility and biodegradability, silk fibroin – produced from

Bombyx mori (B. mori) cocoons – has been at the forefront of research for many

biomedical application formats: hydrogels, films, microspheres, and porous

sponges/scaffolding, to name a few. For drug delivery, in particular, porous particles are

desirable for their large surface area, uniform and tunable pore structure, and high

porosity. This thesis focuses on the fabrication of porous particles from silk fibroin by the

very interesting Ouzo effect. The Ouzo effect, so named because of the Greek

beverage ouzo, describes the phenomenon of an ethanol + anethole oil solution turning

milky-white in color once water is added in due to the spontaneous nucleation of oil

droplets. Using the Ouzo effect to fabricate porous particles solves the numerous issues

of typical colloidal droplet formation by not requiring energy nor a surfactant, which is

cost effective and environmentally friendly; the Ouzo effect also tackles the so-called

“coffee ring effect” of previous particle fabrication, in which a solution’s suspension

medium travels to the edge of a droplet and leaves a residual ring. An Ouzo droplet is

able to self-lubricate at the droplet’s edge and form an oil ring that forces the

suspension medium to form a 3-D particle with tunable pore shape. By using the Ouzo

effect to fabricate these particles from silk fibroin, the result is consistent macro-porous

(pore diameter being greater than 50 nm) structures with relative 2-D porosity values

greater than 70%. These features make the particles ideal for drug loading and delivery.


Bioengineering; Biomaterials; Drug delivery application


Biomechanical Engineering | Biomedical | Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation

File Format


File Size

2.0 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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