Mechanical Properties of Bioactive Glass (13-93) Scaffolds Fabricated by Robotic Deposition for Structural Bone Repair


There is a need to develop synthetic scaffolds to repair large defects in load-bearing bones. Bioactive glasses have attractive properties as a scaffold material for bone repair, but data on their mechanical properties are limited. The objective of the present study was to comprehensively evaluate the mechanical properties of strong porous scaffolds of silicate 13-93 bioactive glass fabricated by robocasting. As-fabricated scaffolds with a grid-like microstructure (porosity 47%, filament diameter 330 μm, pore width 300 μm) were tested in compressive and flexural loading to determine their strength, elastic modulus, Weibull modulus, fatigue resistance, and fracture toughness. Scaffolds were also tested in compression after they were immersed in simulated body fluid (SBF) in vitro or implanted in a rat subcutaneous model in vivo. As fabricated, the scaffolds had a strength of 86 ± 9 MPa, elastic modulus of 13 ± 2 GPa, and a Weibull modulus of 12 when tested in compression. In flexural loading the strength, elastic modulus, and Weibull modulus were 11 ± 3 MPa, 13 ± 2 GPa, and 6, respectively. In compression, the as-fabricated scaffolds had a mean fatigue life of ∼106 cycles when tested in air at room temperature or in phosphate-buffered saline at 37 °C under cyclic stresses of 1-10 or 2-20 MPa. The compressive strength of the scaffolds decreased markedly during the first 2 weeks of immersion in SBF or implantation in vivo, but more slowly thereafter. The brittle mechanical response of the scaffolds in vitro changed to an elasto-plastic response after implantation for longer than 2-4 weeks in vivo. In addition to providing critically needed data for designing bioactive glass scaffolds, the results are promising for the application of these strong porous scaffolds in loaded bone repair.


Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Bioactive Glass; Mechanical Properties; Scaffold; Robocasting; Bone Repair

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2013 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2013