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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2014 Oct;102(10):3677-84. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.35038. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Calcium phosphate scaffolds mimicking the gradient architecture of native long bones.

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  • 1Dental Materials and Biomaterials Research, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Germany.


The synthesis of beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) scaffolds offering both the macroporous inner structure required for proper in vivo degradation and a non-macroporous outer structure for the enhancement of mechanical properties continues to be a challenge. The hypothesis of this study was to realize biomimetic β-TCP scaffolds with a macroporous inner structure and a compact outer structure using a lost wax casting technique. The porosity, macropore size, interconnectivity of the inner porous structure, and diameter of the outer compact structure were adjusted to specific values using a three-dimensional wax printer to manufacture the wax molds for the casting process. After the slip casting, the wax was pyrolyzed and the specimens were sintered. The resulting graded β-TCP scaffolds (porous + compact) were characterized and compared with β-TCP scaffolds with overall apparent macropores (only porous) and samples without macropores (only compact). The porosity and the compressive strength of the only compact, porous + compact, and only porous β-TCP samples were 31.4 ± 0.4 vol %, 55.6 ± 0.9 vol %, and 66.9 ± 0.4 vol % and 192 ± 7 MPa, 36 ± 2 MPa, and 9 ± 1 MPa, respectively. The macropore size was 500 µm and the micropore size was up to 10 µm, both featuring a completely open porous structure. From these results, we conclude that the lost wax casting technique offers an excellent method for the fabrication of β-TCP scaffolds with an inner macroporous structure and compact outer structure which mimics the cancellous and cortical structure of natural bone.

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


bioceramics; biomimetic; calcium phosphate; functionally graded material; pore size

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