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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2009 Oct;91(1):191-202. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.31389.

Microcomputed tomography and microfinite element modeling for evaluating polymer scaffolds architecture and their mechanical properties.

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Radiology Department, Hospital Quirón, 46010 Valencia, Spain.


Detailed knowledge of the porous architecture of synthetic scaffolds for tissue engineering, their mechanical properties, and their interrelationship was obtained in a nondestructive manner. Image analysis of microcomputed tomography (microCT) sections of different scaffolds was done. The three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of the scaffold allows one to quantify scaffold porosity, including pore size, pore distribution, and struts' thickness. The porous morphology and porosity as calculated from microCT by image analysis agrees with that obtained experimentally by scanning electron microscopy and physically measured porosity, respectively. Furthermore, the mechanical properties of the scaffold were evaluated by making use of finite element modeling (FEM) in which the compression stress-strain test is simulated on the 3D structure reconstructed from the microCT sections. Elastic modulus as calculated from FEM is in agreement with those obtained from the stress-strain experimental test. The method was applied on qualitatively different porous structures (interconnected channels and spheres) with different chemical compositions (that lead to different elastic modulus of the base material) suitable for tissue regeneration. The elastic properties of the constructs are explained on the basis of the FEM model that supports the main mechanical conclusion of the experimental results: the elastic modulus does not depend on the geometric characteristics of the pore (pore size, interconnection throat size) but only on the total porosity of the scaffold.

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