3D Printing of Macro Porous Sol-Gel Derived Bioactive Glass Scaffolds and Assessment of Biological Response


3D printing emerged as a potential game-changer in the field of biomedical engineering. Robocasting in particular has shown excellent capability to produce custom-sized porous scaffolds from pastes with suitable viscoelastic properties. The materials and respective processing methods developed so far still need further improvements in order to obtain completely satisfactory scaffolds capable of providing both the biological and mechanical properties required for successful and comprehensive bone tissue regeneration. This work reports on the sol-gel synthesis of an alkali-free bioactive glass and on its characterization and processing ability towards the fabrication of porous scaffolds by robocasting. A two-fold increase in milling efficiency was achieved by suitably adjusting the milling procedures. The heat treatment temperature exerted a profound effect on the surface area of mesoporous powders. Robocasting inks containing 35 vol.% solids were prepared, and their flow properties were characterized by rheological tests. A script capable of preparing customizable CAD scaffold geometries was developed. The printing process was adjusted to increase the technique's resolution. The mechanical properties of the scaffolds were assessed through compressive strength tests. The biomineralization ability and the biological performance were assessed by immersing the samples in simulated body fluid (SBF) and through MTT assays, respectively. The overall results demonstrated that scaffolds with macro porous features suitable for bone ingrowth (pore sizes of ~340 mu m after sintering, and a porosity fraction of ~70%) in non-load-bearing applications could be successfully fabricated by 3D printing from the bioactive glass inks. Moreover, the scaffolds exhibited good biomineralization activity and good biocompatibility with human keratinocytes, suggesting they are safe and thus suited for the intended biomedical applications.



subject category

Chemistry, Physical; Materials Science, Multidisciplinary; Metallurgy & Metallurgical Engineering; Physics, Applied; Physics, Condensed Matter


Bento, R; Gaddam, A; Oskoei, P; Oliveira, H; Ferreira, JMF

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the projects CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, FCT Ref. UID/CTM/50011/2019 and CESAM-Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (UIDB/50017/2020 & UIDP/50017/2020) financed by national funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT/MCTES). FCT is also acknowledged for the research contract under Scientific Employment Stimulus to H.O. (CEECIND/04050/2017). P.O. acknowledges the University of Aveiro for the PhD grant (BD/REIT/8623/2020). AG is grateful for the support from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP Processo nffi 2021/06370-0) and CeRTEV (Center for Research, Technology, and Education in Vitreous Materials-process FAPESP nffi 2013/07793-6).

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