Porous materials have a variety of uses in biomedical, industrial and household applications. While such materials can be produced via different fabrication methods including sintering, porogen-leaching, self-assembly, and solid free-form techniques which generates materials with certain pore sizes and shapes, the techniques may not be compatible with each other, limiting the physical characteristics and properties of the resultant porous materials. In this regard, the control of pore sizes and shapes of such porous materials is important in their final application. In particular for biomedical applications where the porous material is being used as a part of tissue engineering construct, these physical parameters become critical, to allow cell attachment, growth, and proliferation.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a set of new technologies that integrate several techniques for the design and fabrication of complex structures with various geometrics on multiple size scales. The materials can be any type such as synthetic polymers, natural macromolecules, organic compounds, inorganic compounds, metals and their mixtures as long as they can flow and be cast in a mold under certain conditions. This approach allows for the fabrication of 3-D nanofibrous (NF) scaffolds while having precise control of internal pore size and structure as well as external scaffold shape including architectures generated from computed-tomography (CT) scans and histological sections. Since osteoblastic tissue formation is enhanced by nanometer-sized features, NF features created using this approach is especially useful for tissue engineering applications.
Applications and Advantages
- Tissue engineering
- Materials for wound dressing
- Drug release matrix
- Controlled internal pore sizes
- Materials with complex 3-dimensional-nl-geometries