A low cost supercritical CO foaming rig with a novel design has been used to prepare fully interconnected and highly porous biodegradable scaffolds with controllable pore size and structure that can promote cancellous bone regeneration. Porous polymer scaffolds have been produced by plasticising the polymer with high pressure CO and by the formation of a porous structure following the escape of CO from the polymer. Although, control over pore size and structure has been previously reported as difficult with this process, the current study shows that control is possible. The effects of processing parameters such as CO saturation pressure, time and temperature and depressurisation rate on the morphological properties, namely porosity, pore interconnectivity, pore size and wall thickness- of the scaffolds have been investigated. Poly(d,l)lactic acid was used as the biodegradable polymer. The surfaces and internal morphologies of the poly(d,l)lactic acid scaffolds were examined using optical microscope and micro computed tomography. Preosteoblast human bone cells were seeded on the porous scaffolds in vitro to assess cell attachment and viability. The scaffolds showed a good support for cell attachment, and maintained cell viability throughout 7 days in culture. This study demonstrated that the morphology of the porous structure can be controlled by varying the foaming conditions, allowing the porous scaffolds to be used in various tissue engineering applications.
Rouholamin, D., Smith, P. J., & Ghassemieh, E. (2013). Control of morphological properties of porous biodegradable scaffolds processed by supercritical CO2 foaming. Journal of Materials Science, 48(8), 3254-3263. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-012-7109-4