Creation of Bioactive Glass (13–93) Scaffolds for Structural Bone Repair using a Combined Finite Element Modeling and Rapid Prototyping Approach


There is a clinical need for synthetic bioactive materials that can reliably repair intercalary skeletal tissue loss in load-bearing bones. Bioactive glasses have been investigated as one such material but their mechanical response has been a concern. Previously, we created bioactive silicate glass (13–93) scaffolds with a uniform grid-like microstructure which showed a compressive strength comparable to human cortical bone but a much lower flexural strength. In the present study, finite element modeling (FEM) was used to re-design the scaffold microstructure to improve its flexural strength without significantly lowering its compressive strength and ability to support bone infiltration in vivo. Then scaffolds with the requisite microstructures were created by a robotic deposition method and tested in four-point bending and compression to validate the FEM simulations. In general, the data validated the predictions of the FEM simulations. Scaffolds with a porosity gradient, composed of a less porous outer region and a more porous inner region, showed a flexural strength (34 ± 5 MPa) that was more than twice the value for the uniform grid-like microstructure (15 ± 5 MPa) and a higher compressive strength (88 ± 20 MPa) than the grid-like microstructure (72 ± 10 MPa). Upon implantation of the scaffolds for 12 weeks in rat calvarial defects in vivo, the amount of new bone that infiltrated the pore space of the scaffolds with the porosity gradient (37 ± 16%) was similar to that for the grid-like scaffolds (35 ± 6%). These scaffolds with a porosity gradient that better mimics the microstructure of human long bone could provide more reliable implants for structural bone repair.


Materials Science and Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Structural bone repair; Bioactive glass scaffolds; Finite element modeling; Mechanical properties; Bone regeneration

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Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2016 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2016