EFFECT OF DIFFERENT PORE SIZES OF POLYURETHANE FOAMS ON PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF AKERMANITE POROUS SCAFFOLDS
Various three-dimensional (3D) porous ceramic scaffolds have been introduced as a bone substitute for Tissue Engineering applications, but none is considered ideal for clinical applications. Therefore this study investigated the effect of using different pore sizes of polyurethane (PU) foam in tailoring the physical and mechanical properties of the novel akermanite porous scaffolds. In this work, the porous scaffolds were prepared using PU foams with 20 and 60 ppi pores sizes, designated as AKr-20 and AKr-60, respectively. These scaffolds were fabricated using as-milled akermanite powders, binder, dispersant, foaming and gelling agents by the combination of gel casting and PU foam replication techniques followed by sintering at 1200°C in air atmosphere. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis confirmed that both of the sintered scaffolds formed pure akermanite phase. Despite different pore sizes used, both scaffolds showed good interconnected pore structure with average pore sizes of 327-722 μm and porosity of 75-82%. AKr-60 scaffolds showed higher compressive strength (2.66 ± 0.83 MPa), which is about 3-fold higher than AKr-20 scaffolds (MPa). At this stage of study, AKr-60 is selected as a potential substitute material for bone tissue regeneration and repair, particularly for non-load bearing applications.