Ultrasonic monitoring of foamed polymeric tissue scaffold fabrication

Mather, Melissa L.; Crowe, John A.; Morgan, Stephen P.; White, Lisa J.; Kalashnikov, Alexander A.; Ivchenko, Vladimir G.; Howdle, Steven M.; Shakesheff, Kevin M.
September 2008
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine;Sep2008, Vol. 19 Issue 9, p3071
Academic Journal
Polymeric tissue scaffolds are central to many regenerative medicine therapies offering a new approach to medicine. As the number of these regenerative therapies increases there is a pressing need for an improved understanding of the methods of scaffold fabrication. Of the many approaches to processing scaffolds, supercritical fluid fabrication methods have a distinct advantage over other techniques as they do not require the use of organic solvents, elevated processing temperatures or leaching processes. The work presented here is centred on the development of a new approach to monitoring supercritical scaffold fabrication based on determination of the scaffold acoustic impedance to inform protocols for scaffold fabrication. The approach taken uses an ultrasonic pulse-echo reflectometer enabling non-invasive monitoring of the supercritical environment on-line. The feasibility of this approach was investigated for two scaffolds of different molecular weight. Acoustic results demonstrate that differences in the physical properties of the two scaffolds could be resolved, particularly during the foaming process which correlated with findings from time-lapsed imaging and micro X-ray computed tomography (μ X-ray CT) images. Thus, this work demonstrates the feasibility of ultrasonic pulse-echo reflectometry to non-invasively study supercritical scaffold fabrication on-line providing a greater understanding of the scaffold fabrication process.


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