Modeling Pressure Drop Using Generalized Scaffold Characteristics in an Axial-Flow Bioreactor for Soft Tissue Regeneration
The goal of this study was to better understand how analytical permeability models based on scaffold architecture can facilitate a non-invasive technique to real time monitoring of pressure drop in bioreactors. In particular, we evaluated the permeability equations for electrospun and freeze dried scaffolds via pressure drop comparison in an axial-flow bioreactor using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and experimentation. The polycaprolactone–cellulose acetate fibers obtained by co-axial electrospinning technique and Chitosan–Gelatin scaffolds prepared using freeze-drying techniques were utilized. Initially, the structural properties (fiber size, pore size and porosity) and mechanical properties (elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio) of scaffolds in phosphate buffered saline at 37 °C were evaluated. The CFD simulations were performed by coupling fluid flow, described by Brinkman equation, with structural mechanics using a moving mesh. The experimentally obtained pressure drop values for both 1 mm thick and 2 mm thick scaffolds agreed with simulation results. To evaluate the effect of permeability and elastic modulus on pressure drop, CFD predictions were extended to a broad range of permeabilities spanning synthetic scaffolds and tissues, elastic moduli, and Poisson’s ratio. Results indicated an increase in pressure drop with increase in permeability. Scaffolds with higher elastic modulus performed better and the effect of Poisson’s ratio was insignificant. Flow induced deformation was negligible in axial-flow bioreactor. In summary, scaffold permeabilities can be calculated using scaffold microarchitecture and can be used in non-invasive monitoring of tissue regeneration.
KeywordsPermeability Fibrous scaffolds Elastic modulus Axial-flow Flow-through Soft tissue Brinkman equation Poroelasticity
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