Porous poly(vinyl alcohol)/sepiolite bone scaffolds: Preparation, structure and mechanical properties

Derek Killeen, Martin Frydrych, Biqiong Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Porous poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA)/sepiolite nanocomposite scaffolds containing 0-10 wt.% sepiolite were prepared by freeze-drying and thermally crosslinked with poly(arylic acid). The microstructure of the obtained scaffolds was characterised by scanning electron microscopy and micro-computed tomography, which showed a ribbon and ladder like interconnected structure. The incorporation of sepiolite increased the mean pore size and porosity of the PVA scaffold as well as the degree of anisotropy due to its fibrous structure. The tensile strength, modulus and energy at break of the PVA solid material that constructed the scaffold were found to improve with additions of sepiolite by up to 104%, 331% and 22% for 6 wt.% clay. Such enhancements were attributed to the strong interactions between the PVA and sepiolite, the good dispersion of sepiolite nanofibres in the matrix and the intrinsic properties of the nanofibres. However, the tensile properties of the PVA scaffold deteriorated in the presence of sepiolite because of the higher porosity, pore size and degree of anisotropy. The PVA/sepiolite nanocomposite scaffold containing 6 wt.% sepiolite was characterised by an interconnected structure, a porosity of 89.5% and a mean pore size of 79 μm and exhibited a tensile strength of 0.44 MPa and modulus of 14.9 MPa, which demonstrates potential for this type of materials to be further developed as bone scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-757
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Foam
  • Mechanical properties
  • Morphology
  • Nanocomposite
  • Poly(vinyl alcohol)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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