Robocasting of SiO2-based bioactive glass scaffolds with porosity gradient for bone regeneration and potential load-bearing applications
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Additive manufacturing of bioactive glasses has recently attracted high interest in the field of regenerative medicine as a versatile class of fabrication methods to process bone substitute materials. In this study, melt-derived glass particles from the SiO2-P2O5-CaO-MgO-Na2O-K2Osystem were used to fabricate bioactive scaffolds with graded porosity by robocasting. A printable ink made of glass powder and Pluronic F-127 (binder) was extruded into a grid-like three-dimensional structure with bimodal porosity, i.e., the inner part of the scaffold had macropores with smaller size compared to the periphery. The crystallization behavior of the glass powder was studied by hot-stage microscopy, differential thermal analysis, and X-ray diffraction; the scaffolds were sintered at a temperature below the onset of crystallization so that amorphous structures could be obtained. Scaffold architecture was investigated by scanning electron microscopy and microtomographic analysis that allowed quantifying the microstructural parameters. In vitro tests in Kokubo's simulated body fluid (SBF) confirmed the apatite-forming ability (i.e., bioactivity) of the scaffolds. The compressive strength was found to slightly decrease during immersion in SBF up to 4 weeks but still remained comparable to that of human cancellous bone. The pH and concentration of released ions in SBF were also measured at each time point. Taken together, these results (favorable porosity, mechanical strength, and in vitro bioactivity) show great promise for the potential application of these robocast scaffolds in bone defect repair.