Finite element predictions compared to experimental results for the effective modulus of bone tissue engineering scaffolds fabricated by selective laser sintering

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A current challenge in bone tissue engineering is to create scaffolds with suitable mechanical properties, high porosity, full interconnectivity and suitable pore size. In this paper, polyamide and polycaprolactone scaffolds were fabricated using a solid free form technique known as selective laser sintering. These scaffolds had fully interconnected pores, minimized strut thickness, and a porosity of approximately 55%. Tensile and compression tests as well as finite element analysis were carried out on these scaffolds. It was found that the values predicted for the effective modulus by the FE model were much higher than the actual values obtained from experimental results. One possible explanation for this discrepancy, viz. the surface roughness of the scaffold and the presence of micropores in the scaffold struts, was investigated with a view to making recommendations on improving FE model configurations for accurate effective property predictions.

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