3D fiber-deposited scaffolds for tissue engineering: Influence of pores geometry and architecture on dynamic mechanical properties
One of the main issues in tissue engineering is the fabrication of scaffolds that closely mimic the biomechanical properties of the tissues to be regenerated. Conventional fabrication techniques are not sufficiently suitable to control scaffold structure to modulate mechanical properties. Within novel scaffold fabrication processes 3D fiber deposition (3DF) showed great potential for tissue engineering applications because of the precision in making reproducible 3D scaffolds, characterized by 100% interconnected pores with different shapes and sizes. Evidently, these features also affect mechanical properties. Therefore, in this study we considered the influence of different structures on dynamic mechanical properties of 3DF scaffolds. Pores were varied in size and shape, by changing fibre diameter, spacing and orientation, and layer thickness. With increasing porosity, dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) revealed a decrease in elastic properties such as dynamic stiffness and equilibrium modulus, and an increase of the viscous parameters like damping factor and creep unrecovered strain. Furthermore, the Poisson’s ratio was measured, and the shear modulus computed from it. Scaffolds showed an adaptable degree of compressibility between sponges and incompressible materials. As comparison, bovine cartilage was tested and its properties fell in the fabricated scaffolds range. This investigation showed that viscoelastic properties of 3DF scaffolds could be modulated to accomplish mechanical requirements for tailored tissue engineered applications.