The Mineralization of Various 3D-Printed PCL Composites
In this project, different calcification methods for collagen and collagen coatings were compared in terms of their applicability for 3D printing and production of collagen-coated scaffolds. For this purpose, scaffolds were printed from polycaprolactone PCL using the EnvisionTec 3D Bioplotter and then coated with collagen. Four different coating methods were then applied: hydroxyapatite (HA) powder directly in the collagen coating, incubation in 10× SBF, coating with alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and coating with poly-L-aspartic acid. The results were compared by ESEM, µCT, TEM, and EDX. HA directly in the collagen solution resulted in a pH change and thus an increase in viscosity, leading to clumping on the scaffolds. As a function of incubation time in 10× SBF as well as in ALP, HA layer thickness increased, while no coating on the collagen layer was apparently observed with poly-L-aspartic acid. Only ultrathin sections and TEM with SuperEDX detected nano crystalline HA in the collagen layer. Exclusively the incubation in poly-L-aspartic acid led to HA crystals within the collagen coating compared to all other methods where the HA layers formed in different forms only at the collagen layer.