Incorporating self-assembly into robocasting for applications in hard tissue engineering

Papastavrou, E., 2016. Incorporating self-assembly into robocasting for applications in hard tissue engineering. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

Emmanouil Papastavrou 2016 excl3rdpartycopyright.pdf - Published version

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High cost coupled with limited supply of hard tissue substitutes make necessary the development of synthetic biomaterials, as well as economical and reproducible manufacturing techniques that can be easily scaled up. Multiple and often conflicting requirements have so far impeded the application of polymer/ceramic composites in large load-bearing defects. Although porosity is a crucial biological requirement, it has a detrimental effect on their mechanical performance. This thesis emphasizes upon methods for structuring bioceramic materials at different orders of magnitude - termed structural hierarchy. In bones, this constitutes the main mechanism contributing to their remarkable strength and fracture resistance. This can be achieved through combining AM with physical processes that cause the material to self-assemble into various configurations during or following its deposition.
The first part of this research explores the potential of Low-Temperature Deposition Modelling (LDM) in fabricating scaffolds with tailorable bimodal porosity. More specifically, LDM is treated as a hybrid technique, in which robocasting is combined with freezing-induced self-assembly. For the purposes of this study, a highly versatile and economical print-head was fabricated that can be operated at ambient temperatures down to -20oC. In addition, a highly thixotropic β-TCP paste formulation of high water content (80% v/v) was developed that takes advantage of a synergy existing between Sodium Alginate and Xanthan Gum. The findings suggest that chamber temperature and water content have the most marked effect on pore morphology. Ordered micro-architectures comprising lamellar pores with a high degree of alignment were obtained at low freezing rates (-5oC). Most importantly, this research evidences for the first time that their direction is not only dictated by toolpath geometry, but also by the ice structure in preceding layers (epitaxy).
The second part of this thesis demonstrates the combination of robocasting with a heating process to produce planar hollow-tube lattices that can be manipulated into various configurations. This technique makes use of a novel Sodium Alginate-based β-TCP slurry reinforced with cellulose nano-fibrils. When heated rapidly, it forms hollow-shell structures, which can be cross-linked in Ca2+-rich solutions to produce flexible yet strong particle-reinforced gels. Optimal results were achieved at 3 and 4% w/w alginate content, where the paste’s loss tangent reaches its maximum value.
This research demonstrates that such combinational approaches to AM can successfully produce hard tissue substitutes that exhibit multiple levels of structural hierarchy. This constitutes a first step towards achieving biomimetic bone scaffolds with superior mechanical performance.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Papastavrou, E.
Date: September 2016
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 21 Nov 2017 12:09
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2017 12:09

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