Accelerated degradation of poly-ε-caprolactone composite scaffolds for large bone defects

Evangelos Daskalakis, Mohamed H. Hassan, Abdalla M. Omar, Anil A. Acar, Ali Fallah, Glen Cooper, Andrew Weightman, Gordon Blunn, Bahattin Koc, Paulo Bartolo

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Abstract

This research investigates the accelerated hydrolytic degradation process of both anatomically designed bone scaffolds with a pore size gradient and a rectangular shape (biomimetically designed scaffolds or bone bricks). The effect of material composition is investigated considering poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) as the main scaffold material, reinforced with ceramics such as hydroxyapatite (HA), β-tricalcium phosphate (TCP) and bioglass at a concentration of 20 wt%. In the case of rectangular scaffolds, the effect of pore size (200 μm, 300 μm and 500 μm) is also investigated. The degradation process (accelerated degradation) was investigated during a period of 5 days in a sodium hydroxide (NaOH) medium. Degraded bone bricks and rectangular scaffolds were measured each day to evaluate the weight loss of the samples, which were also morphologically, thermally, chemically and mechanically assessed. The results show that the PCL/bioglass bone brick scaffolds exhibited faster degradation kinetics in comparison with the PCL, PCL/HA and PCL/TCP bone bricks. Furthermore, the degradation kinetics of rectangular scaffolds increased by increasing the pore size from 500 μm to 200 μm. The results also indicate that, for the same material composition, bone bricks degrade slower compared with rectangular scaffolds. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images show that the degradation process was faster on the external regions of the bone brick scaffolds (600 μm pore size) compared with the internal regions (200 μm pore size). The thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) results show that the ceramic concentration remained constant throughout the degradation process, while differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results show that all scaffolds exhibited a reduction in crystallinity (Xc), enthalpy (Δm) and melting temperature (Tm) throughout the degradation process, while the glass transition temperature (Tg) slightly increased. Finally, the compression results show that the mechanical properties decreased during the degradation process, with PCL/bioglass bone bricks and rectangular scaffolds presenting higher mechanical properties with the same design in comparison with the other materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number670
Number of pages16
JournalPolymers
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • 3D printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • biomaterials
  • degradation process
  • UKRI
  • EPSRC
  • EP/R01513/1

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