Degradable amorphous scaffolds with enhanced mechanical properties and homogeneous cell distribution produced by a three‐dimensional fiber deposition method

The mechanical properties of amorphous, degradable, and highly porous poly(lactide-co-caprolactone) structures have been improved by using a 3D fiber deposition (3DF) method. Two designs of 3DF scaffolds, with 45° and 90° layer rotation, were printed and compared with scaffolds produced by a salt-leaching method. The scaffolds had a porosity range from 64% to 82% and a high interconnectivity, measured by micro-computer tomography. The 3DF scaffolds had 8–9 times higher compressive stiffness and 3–5 times higher tensile stiffness than the salt-leached scaffolds. There was a distinct decrease in the molecular weight during printing as a consequence of the high temperature. The chain microstructure was, however, not affected; the glass transition temperature and the decomposition temperature were constant. Human OsteoBlast-like cells were cultured in vitro and the cell morphology and distribution were observed by scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. The cell distribution on the 3DF scaffolds was more homogeneous than the salt-leached scaffolds, suggesting that 3DF scaffolds are more suitable as porous biomaterials for tissue engineering. These results show that it is possible to design and optimize the properties of amorphous polymer scaffolds. The 3DF method produce amorphous degradable poly(lactide-co-caprolactone) that are strong and particularly suitable for cell proliferation.