Pneumatic micro-extrusion (PME), a direct-write additive manufacturing process, has emerged as a high-resolution method for the fabrication of a broad range of biological tissues and organs. However, the PME process is intrinsically complex, governed by complex physical phenomena. Hence, investigation of the effects of consequential parameters would be an inevitable need. The goal of this research work is to fabricate biocompatible, porous bone tissue scaffolds for the treatment of osseous fractures, defects, and eventually diseases. In pursuit of this goal, the objective of this study is to investigate the influence of material deposition factors — i.e., (i) deposition head temperature, (ii) flow pressure, and (iii) infill pattern — on the mechanical performance of PME-fabricated bone scaffolds.
It was observed that the deposition head temperature as well as the flow pressure significantly affected scaffold diameter (unlike scaffold height). In addition, material deposition rate increased significantly as a result of an increase in the deposition temperature; this phenomenon stems from a reduction in Polycaprolactone (PCL) viscosity. Furthermore, there was a direct correlation between the amount of deposited mass and scaffold stiffness. Overall, the results of this study pave the way for future investigation of PME-deposited PCL scaffolds with optimal functional properties for incorporation of stem cells toward the treatment of osseous fractures and defects.