Synchrotron X-ray microtomography for assessment of bone tissue scaffolds
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X-ray microtomography (μCT) is a popular tool for imaging scaffolds designed for tissue engineering applications. The ability of synchrotron μCT to monitor tissue response and changes in a bioactive glass scaffold ex vivo were assessed. It was possible to observe the morphology of the bone; soft tissue ingrowth and the calcium distribution within the scaffold. A second aim was to use two newly developed compression rigs, one designed for use inside a laboratory based μCT machine for continual monitoring of the pore structure and crack formation and another designed for use in the synchrotron facility. Both rigs allowed imaging of the failure mechanism while obtaining stress–strain data. Failure mechanisms of the bioactive glass scaffolds were found not to follow classical predictions for the failure of brittle foams. Compression strengths were found to be 4.5–6 MPa while maintaining an interconnected pore network suitable for tissue engineering applications.