Investigation into the dispensing-based fabrication process for tissue scaffolds
Ke, Hui David
Tissue engineering is a multidisciplinary subject aimed at producing the immunologically tolerant ‘artificial’ tissues/organs to repair or replace damaged ones. In this field, tissue scaffold plays a key role to support cell growth and new tissue regeneration. For fabrication of tissue scaffolds with individual external geometry and predefined inner structure, rapid prototyping (RP) systems based on fluid dispensing techniques have proved to be very promising. The present research conducted a comprehensive study on the dispensing-based fabrication process. First of all, the scaffold materials are characterized in terms of their biocompatibility and flow behaviour. The biocompatibility of biomaterials of PLLA, PCL, collagen, chitosan, and gelatine is evaluated in terms of supporting neuron cells’ adhesion and outgrowth. Chitosan solution (2% w/v) in acetic acid is shown to be the most promising among the examined biomaterials for the fabrication of nerve tissue scaffolds. Its non-Newtonian flow behaviour is identified by using a commercial rheometer. In the fabrication process, the flow rate of biomaterials dispensed, the profile of strand cross-sections, and the scaffold porosity are very important and must be precisely controlled. A model is developed to represent the flow rate of biomaterials dispensed under the assumptions that the flow is incompressible, steady, laminar, and axisymmetric. Also, the profile and size of line strands at different layers and portions are modeled based on the Young-Laplace equation. Thus the dispensing-based fabrication process can be predicted in terms of the flow rate and the scaffold porosity. The effects of operation conditions on the fabrication result are identified theoretically and experimentally. Simulation result shows that a higher driving pressure, a higher temperature, and a larger needle diameter will result in a larger size of the strand cross-sections and lower scaffold porosity. The change pattern, however, is nonlinear, which is affected by the fluid surface tension and non-Newtonian flow behaviour of scaffold biomaterials. To verify the effectiveness of the developed models, experiments were carried out on a commercial dispensing system (C-720, Asymtek, USA). To avoid the possible error derived from the temperature difference between the dispensing system and the rheometer, a new method is presented to characterize the fluid properties used for model predictions. Experimental results illustrate that the developed models, combined with the new identification method, are very promising to predict the dispensing-based fabrication process.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorChen, X. B. (Daniel)
CommitteeZhang, W. J. (Chris); Yang, Qiaoqin; Wang, Hui; Schoenau, Greg J.
Copyright DateAugust 2006