The effect of material organization on the structural properties of porous architectures
Doctor of Philosophy
Tissue engineered scaffolds are often considered "black boxes." Post implantation, they are solely expected to provide temporary mechanical support and foster tissue ingrowth while de novo tissue forms around its matrix. This is rarely the case however, as the post implantation interaction between this foreign body and the host biological system is largely uncontrolled. A growing body of concrete results is overwriting previous holistic knowledge to provide firm and hierarchical guidelines for successful scaffold design. Two areas have recently demonstrated fertile ground for progress: (1) the mechanical strength of architecture and (2) the fluid flow properties of that architecture, both of which act on different void phases. Mechanical properties are controlled by the solid phase of the matrix, while the void space determines fluid flow characteristics. The objective of this dissertation was to demonstrate the benefits of an analysis of the structural properties of tissue engineered scaffolds combined with the specific design potentials of computer-aided tissue engineering (CATE) for orthopaedic applications. Two overarching goals directed this research. The first was focused on antipodal properties and addressed solutions which included an interplay between opposing poles while matching biological properties and secondly, to apply that knowledge towards the design of patient specific implants. Two antipodal properties were studied; (1) modification of the solid phase was addressed with respect to structural mechanical properties and (2) modification of the void phase was studied to determine fluid flow characteristics of porous architectures. These concepts were then applied in real applications using CATE towards the goal of tissue engineered scaffolds for bone repair and drug regimen.