Bioresorbable scaffolds for bone tissue engineering: Optimal design, fabrication, mechanical testing and scale-size effects analysis

Pedro G. Coelho, Scott J. Hollister, Colleen L. Flanagan, Paulo R. Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Bone scaffolds for tissue regeneration require an optimal trade-off between biological and mechanical criteria. Optimal designs may be obtained using topology optimization (homogenization approach) and prototypes produced using additive manufacturing techniques. However, the process from design to manufacture remains a research challenge and will be a requirement of FDA design controls to engineering scaffolds. This work investigates how the design to manufacture chain affects the reproducibility of complex optimized design characteristics in the manufactured product. The design and prototypes are analyzed taking into account the computational assumptions and the final mechanical properties determined through mechanical tests. The scaffold is an assembly of unit-cells, and thus scale size effects on the mechanical response considering finite periodicity are investigated and compared with the predictions from the homogenization method which assumes in the limit infinitely repeated unit cells. Results show that a limited number of unit-cells (3-5 repeated on a side) introduce some scale-effects but the discrepancies are below 10%. Higher discrepancies are found when comparing the experimental data to numerical simulations due to differences between the manufactured and designed scaffold feature shapes and sizes as well as micro-porosities introduced by the manufacturing process. However good regression correlations (R2>0.85) were found between numerical and experimental values, with slopes close to 1 for 2 out of 3 designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • Biofabrication
  • Bone scaffolds
  • Homogenization
  • Mechanical testing
  • Multiscale models


Dive into the research topics of 'Bioresorbable scaffolds for bone tissue engineering: Optimal design, fabrication, mechanical testing and scale-size effects analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this