Journal article

Biodegradable polylactide/hydroxyapatite nanocomposite foam scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications

Supercritical carbon dioxide processing of poly--lactide (PLLA)/hydroxyapatite (nHA) nanocomposites was investigated as a means to prepare foams suitable as scaffolds in bone tissue engineering applications. For given foaming parameters, addition of nHA to the PLLA gave reduced cell sizes and improved homogeneity in the size distribution, but did not significantly affect the degree of crystallinity, which remained of the order of 50 wt% in all the foams. The compressive modulus and strength were primarily influenced by the porosity and there was no significant reinforcement of the matrix by the nHA. The mechanical properties of the foams were nevertheless comparable with those of trabecular bone, and by adjusting the saturation pressure and depressurization rate it was possible to generate porosities of about 85 %, an interconnected morphology and cell diameters in the range 200-400 mu m from PLLA containing 4.17 vol% nHA, satisfying established geometrical requirements for bone replacement scaffolds.


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