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Prediction of geometric characteristics in polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds produced by extrusion-based additive manufacturing technique for tissue engineering

Jiwoon Lee (Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Portland State University , Portland, Oregon, USA)
Jesse Walker (Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Portland State University , Portland, Oregon, USA)
Sanjay Natarajan (Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Portland State University , Portland, Oregon, USA)
Sung Yi (Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Portland State University , Portland, Oregon, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 11 September 2019

Issue publication date: 25 February 2020

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156

Abstract

Purpose

Extrusion-based additive manufacturing (AM) has been considered as a promising technique to fabricate scaffolds for tissue engineering due to affordability, versatility and ability to print porous structures. The reliability and controllability of the printing process are necessary to produce 3D-printed scaffolds with desired properties and depend on the geometric characteristics such as porosity and pore diameter. The purpose of this study is to develop an analytical model and explore its effectiveness in the prediction of geometric characteristics of 3D-printed scaffolds.

Design/methodology/approach

An analytical model was developed to simulate the geometric characteristics of scaffolds produced by extrusion-based AM using fluid mechanics. Polycaprolactone (PCL) was chosen as a scaffold material and was assumed to be a non-Newtonian fluid for the model. The effectiveness of the model was verified through comparison with the experimental results.

Findings

A comparison study between simulation and experimental results shows that strut diameter, pore size and porosity of scaffolds can be predicted by using extrusion pressure, temperature, nozzle diameter, nozzle length and printing speed. Simulation results demonstrate that geometric characteristics have a strong relationship with processing parameters, and the model developed in this study can be used for predicting the scaffold properties for the extrusion-based 3D bioprinting process.

Originality/value

The present study provides a prediction model that can simulate the printing process by a simple input of processing parameters. The geometric characteristics can be predicted prior to the experimental verification, and such prediction will reduce the process time and effort when a new material or method is applied.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, J., Walker, J., Natarajan, S. and Yi, S. (2020), "Prediction of geometric characteristics in polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds produced by extrusion-based additive manufacturing technique for tissue engineering", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 238-248. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-08-2018-0219

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited