On the structural, mechanical, and biodegradation properties of HA/β-TCP robocast scaffolds



Hydroxyapatite/β-tricalcium phosphate (HA/β-TCP) composite scaffolds have shown great potential for bone-tissue engineering applications. In this work, ceramic scaffold with different HA/β-TCP compositions (pure HA, 60HA/40β-TCP, and 20HA/80β-TCP) were fabricated by a robotic-assisted deposition (robocasting) technique using water-based hydrogel inks. A systematic study was conducted to investigate the porosity, mechanical property, and degradation of the scaffolds. Our results indicate that, at a similar volume porosity, the mechanical strength of the sintered scaffolds increased with the decreasing rod diameter. The compressive strength of the fabricated scaffolds (porosity ≈ 25–80 vol %) varied between ∼3 and ∼50 MPa, a value equal or higher than that of human cancellous bone (2–12 MPa). Although there was a slight increase of Ca and P ions in water after 5 month, no noticeable degradation of the scaffolds in SBF or water was observed. Our findings from this work indicate that composite calcium phosphate scaffolds with customer-designed chemistry and architecture may be fabricated by a robotic-assisted deposition method. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater 101B: 1233–1242, 2013.