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Fabrication and research of 3D complex scaffolds for bone tissue engineering based on extrusion–deposition technique

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posted on 20.11.2017, 16:53 by Zhichao Chen
Fabrication of scaffold is the key for bone tissue engineering, which is commonly regarded as the most potential route for repairing bone defects. Previously, porous ceramic scaffolds were fabricated through a variety of traditional methods, like moulding and casting, but most of them cannot produce customised tissue-engineered scaffolds. Therefore, 3D printing methods are gaining more attention and are currently being explored and developed to make scaffolds with acceptable biocompatibility. With the considerable development of bone tissue engineering, the bioactivity of scaffolds is becoming increasingly demanded, which leads to new methods and techniques to produce highly biomimetic bone scaffolds. In this study, a new fabrication process to optimise the structures of scaffolds was developed, and intensive researches were performed on the porous scaffolds to confirm their advantages in biological performance. Specifically, by combination of motor assisted extrusion deposition and gas-foaming (graphite as the porogen) technique, hierarchically porous scaffolds with improved microstructures, i.e. multi-scaled pores from nanometre to millimetre (nm-μm-mm), was successfully developed. In this thesis, the optimal content of porogen for scaffolds was studied in terms of compressive strength and in-rod porosities. The most concerned physicochemical properties of scaffolds were carefully examined and the results revealed that such scaffolds exhibit excellent physicochemical properties owing to hierarchically porous structures. Due to additional in-rod micropores and increased specific surface area, along with better hydrophilicity, hierarchically porous scaffolds exerted complete superiority in biological activity, including promoting cellular proliferation of osteoblasts, adhesion and spreading status, as well as the ability to induce cellular differentiation.


7th European Community Framework Programme, Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES). Project: Micro-Multi-Material Manufacture to Enable Multifunctional Miniaturised Devices (M6). Grant no.: PIRSES-GA-2010-269113.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Zhichao Chen

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.