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Materials 2014, 7(5), 4001-4018; doi:10.3390/ma7054001
Article

Effect of Polymer Infiltration on the Flexural Behavior of β-Tricalcium Phosphate Robocast Scaffolds

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Received: 20 February 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2014 / Accepted: 26 April 2014 / Published: 21 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ceramics for Healthcare 2013)
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Abstract

The influence of polymer infiltration on the flexural strength and toughness of β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) scaffolds fabricated by robocasting (direct-write assembly) is analyzed. Porous structures consisting of a tetragonal three-dimensional lattice of interpenetrating rods were impregnated with biodegradable polymers (poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)) by immersion of the structure in a polymer melt. Infiltration increased the flexural strength of these model scaffolds by a factor of 5 (PCL) or 22 (PLA), an enhancement considerably greater than that reported for compression strength of analogue materials. The greater strength improvement in bending was attributed to a more effective transfer of stress to the polymer under this solicitation since the degree of strengthening associated to the sealing of precursor flaws in the ceramic rod surfaces should remain unaltered. Impregnation with either polymer also improved further than in compression the fracture energy of the scaffolds (by more than two orders of magnitude). This increase is associated to the extraordinary strengthening provided by impregnation and to a crack bridging toughening mechanism produced by polymer fibrils.
Keywords: polymer impregnation; robocasting; scaffolds; β-tricalcium phosphate; bending strength; toughness polymer impregnation; robocasting; scaffolds; β-tricalcium phosphate; bending strength; toughness
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Martínez-Vázquez, F.J.; Pajares, A.; Guiberteau, F.; Miranda, P. Effect of Polymer Infiltration on the Flexural Behavior of β-Tricalcium Phosphate Robocast Scaffolds. Materials 2014, 7, 4001-4018.

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