The development of artificial bone substitutes that mimic the properties of bone and simultaneously promote the desired tissue regeneration is a current issue in bone tissue engineering research. An approach to create scaffolds with such characteristics is based on the combination of novel design and additive manufacturing processes. The objective of this work is to characterize the microstructural and the mechanical properties of scaffolds developed by coupling both topology optimization and a low temperature 3D printing process. The scaffold design was obtained using a topology optimization approach to maximize the permeability with constraints on the mechanical properties. This procedure was studied to be suitable for the fabrication of a cage prototype for tibial tuberosity advancement application, which is one of the most recent and promising techniques to treat cruciate ligament rupture in dogs. The microstructural and mechanical properties of the scaffolds manufactured by reacting α/β-tricalcium phosphate with diluted phosphoric acid were then assessed experimentally and the scaffolds strength reliability was determined. The results demonstrate that the low temperature 3D printing process is a reliable option to create synthetic scaffolds with tailored properties, and when coupled with topology optimization design it can be a powerful tool for the fabrication of patient-specific bone implants.
|Publication status||Published - Sept 2013|