Development of a Tissue Engineering Scaffold Structure Library for Rapid Prototyping. Part 1: Investigation and Classification

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In tissue engineering (TE), a porous scaffold structure may be required as a template to guide the proliferation, growth and development of cells appropriately in three dimensions. Although TE scaffolds can be created using one of many conventional techniques available, most will suffer from a lack of mechanical strength and/or uniformity in pore distribution and sizes. This study is focused on creating scaffolds using rapid prototyping (RP) techniques. Utilising these novel techniques, a computer-aided design (CAD) of the scaffold structure must first be modelled. The scaffold structure is then fabricated directly from CAD data using a RP system. The objective of this research is to (1) investigate and select various polyhedral shapes suitable for scaffold modelling, (2) classify the selected unit cells, (3) create a parametric library of scaffold structures and (4) verify by building the CAD models using the selective laser sintering process. The first two objectives are covered in Part 1 of this two-part paper. The remaining objectives will be described and discussed in Part 2.