Development of a modular reinforced bone tissue engineering scaffold with enhanced mechanical properties
A modular design composed of 3D-printed polycaprolactone (PCL) as the load-bearing module, and dual porosity gelatin foam as the bio-reactive module, was developed and characterized in this study. Surface treatment of the PCL module through aminolysis-aldehyde process was found to yield a stronger interface bonding compared to NaOH hydrolysis, and therefore was used in the fabrication procedure. The modular scaffold was shown to significantly improve the mechanical properties of the gelatin foam. Both compressive modulus and ultimate strength was found to increase over 10 times when the modular design was employed. The bio-reactive module i.e., gelatin foam, presented a dual porosity network of 100–300 µm primary and < 10 µm secondary pores. SEM images revealed excellent attachment of DPSCs to the bio-reactive module.