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Coupling control of pore size and spatial distribution in bone scaffolds based on a random strategy for additive manufacturing

Jingrong Li (School of Mechanical and Automative Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Zhijia Xu (School of Mechanical and Automative Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China and Key Laboratory of Polymer Processing Engineering, Ministry of Education, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Qinghui Wang (School of Mechanical and Automative Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Guanghua Hu (School of Mechanical and Automative Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China and Key Laboratory of Polymer Processing Engineering, Ministry of Education, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Yingjun Wang (School of Mechanical and Automative Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China and Key Laboratory of Polymer Processing Engineering, Ministry of Education, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 6 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The three-dimensional porous scaffold is an important concept in tissue engineering and helps to restore or regenerate a damaged tissue. Additive manufacturing (AM) technology makes the production of custom-designed scaffolds possible. However, modeling scaffolds with intricate architecture and customized pore size and spatial distribution presents a challenge. This paper aims to achieve coupling control of pore size and spatial distribution in bone scaffolds for AM.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the proposed method assumes that pore size and spatial distribution have already been transformed from the requirements of scaffolds as inputs. Second, the structural characteristics of scaffolds are explicitly correlated with an all-hexahedron meshing method for scaffold design so that the average pore size could be controlled. Third, the highly coupled internal mesh vertices are adjusted based on a random strategy so that the pore size and spatial distribution conform to their respective desired values. Fourth, after the adjustment, the unit pore cell based on a triply periodic minimal surface was mapped into the hexahedrons through a shape function, thereby ensuring the interconnectivity of the porous scaffold.

Findings

The case studies of three bone scaffolds demonstrate that the proposed approach is feasible and effective to simultaneously control pore size and spatial distribution in porous scaffolds.

Practical implications

The proposed method may make it more flexible to design scaffolds with controllable internal pore architecture for AM.

Originality/value

In the control approach, the highly coupled mesh vertices are adjusted through a random strategy, which can determine the moving direction and range of a vertex dynamically and biasedly, thus ensuring the feasibility and efficiency of the proposed method.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is financially supported by the Nature Science Foundation of China (51575192, 51875210), the Science & Technology Research Program of Guangdong (2016A030310409, 2015A010104005), Joint Funds of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Guangdong (U1601203), the Science & Technology Program of Guangzhou, China (201804010420), the Opening Project of Key Laboratory of Polymer Processing Engineering (South China University of Technology), Ministry of Education and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2017MS019). Great thanks would also be given to the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which helped us to improve the manuscript.

Citation

Li, J., Xu, Z., Wang, Q., Hu, G. and Wang, Y. (2019), "Coupling control of pore size and spatial distribution in bone scaffolds based on a random strategy for additive manufacturing", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 1030-1044. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-12-2017-0254

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited