Improvement of Mechanical Properties of Bone Tissue Engineered Scaffolds through Sintering and Infiltration with Biopolymers

Philipp Drescher, Sebastian Spath, and Hermann Seitz


Scaffolds, 3D printing, biopolymers, infiltration


Additive manufacturing is an innovative manufacturing technique that can build complex porous scaffolds. One promising additive manufacturing technology is 3D printing (3DP) which can be used to build individual scaffolds out of ceramics for bone tissue engineering. However, 3D printed ceramic scaffolds have rather bad mechanical properties and are therefore in focus for improvement. The aim of this study was to improve the mechanical properties of 3DP scaffolds through infiltration with biopolymers. The hypothesis is that through infiltrating the ceramic scaffold, micropores are filled with the polymer leading to a composite with higher compressive strength. As a ceramic, hydroxyapatite powder was used to generate porous scaffolds with a 3D printing machine. The 3D printed scaffolds were sintered and infiltrated with two different biopolymers. Mechanical tests show an improvement on compressive strength. Infiltrated scaffolds have the potential to be used for the treatment of bone defects in load bearing regions.

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