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Open AccessArticle

Efficient Fabrication of Polycaprolactone Scaffolds for Printing Hybrid Tissue-Engineered Constructs

1
EDMANS Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of La Rioja, San José de Calasanz 31, Edificio Departamental, 26004 Logroño, Spain
2
Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Viikinkaari 5 E (P.O. Box 56), 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Salamanca, ETSII, Avda, Fernando Ballesteros, 2, 37700 Béjar (Salamanca), Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(4), 613; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12040613
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 18 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scaffold Materials for Tissue Engineering)
Hybrid constructs represent substantial progress in tissue engineering (TE) towards producing implants of a clinically relevant size that recapitulate the structure and multicellular complexity of the native tissue. They are created by interlacing printed scaffolds, sacrificial materials, and cell-laden hydrogels. A suitable biomaterial is a polycaprolactone (PCL); however, due to the higher viscosity of this biopolymer, three-dimensional (3D) printing of PCL is slow, so reducing PCL print times remains a challenge. We investigated parameters, such as nozzle shape and size, carriage speed, and print temperature, to find a tradeoff that speeds up the creation of hybrid constructs of controlled porosity. We performed experiments with conical, cylindrical, and cylindrical shortened nozzles and numerical simulations to infer a more comprehensive understanding of PCL flow rate. We found that conical nozzles are advised as they exhibited the highest shear rate, which increased the flow rate. When working at a low carriage speed, conical nozzles of a small diameter tended to form-flatten filaments and became highly inefficient. However, raising the carriage speed revealed shortcomings because passing specific values created filaments with a heterogeneous diameter. Small nozzles produced scaffolds with thin strands but at long building times. Using large nozzles and a high carriage speed is recommended. Overall, we demonstrated that hybrid constructs with a clinically relevant size could be much more feasible to print when reaching a tradeoff between temperature, nozzle diameter, and speed. View Full-Text
Keywords: tissue engineering; polycaprolactone; porous scaffolds; hybrid constructs; 3D printing tissue engineering; polycaprolactone; porous scaffolds; hybrid constructs; 3D printing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sodupe Ortega, E.; Sanz-Garcia, A.; Pernia-Espinoza, A.; Escobedo-Lucea, C. Efficient Fabrication of Polycaprolactone Scaffolds for Printing Hybrid Tissue-Engineered Constructs. Materials 2019, 12, 613.

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