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J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 2017 Feb;28(2):207-226. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

Combining mechanical foaming and thermally induced phase separation to generate chitosan scaffolds for soft tissue engineering.

Author information

a Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering , Particulate Fluids Processing Centre, The University of Melbourne , Melbourne , Australia.
b The Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation , Queensland University of Technology , Brisbane , Australia.
c Defence Materials Technology Center (DMTC) , Melbourne , Australia.
d Department of Materials Science and Engineering , Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University , Blacksburg , VA , USA.


In this paper, a novel foaming methodology consisting of turbulent mixing and thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) was used to generate scaffolds for tissue engineering. Air bubbles were mechanically introduced into a chitosan solution which forms the continuous polymer/liquid phase in the foam created. The air bubbles entrained in the foam act as a template for the macroporous architecture of the final scaffolds. Wet foams were crosslinked via glutaraldehyde and frozen at -20 °C to induce TIPS in order to limit film drainage, bubble coalescence and Ostwald ripening. The effects of production parameters, including mixing speed, surfactant concentration and chitosan concentration, on foaming are explored. Using this method, hydrogel scaffolds were successfully produced with up to 80% porosity, average pore sizes of 120 μm and readily tuneable compressive modulus in the range of 2.6 to 25 kPa relevant to soft tissue engineering applications. These scaffolds supported 3T3 fibroblast cell proliferation and penetration and therefore show significant potential for application in soft tissue engineering.


Foaming; PVA; TIPS; chitosan; scaffolds; tissue engineering

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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