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Open AccessArticle

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

EDMANS Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of La Rioja, San José de Calasanz 31, Edificio Departamental, 26004 Logroño, Spain
Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Viikinkaari 5 E (P.O. Box 56), 00014 Helsinki, Finland
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;
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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