Schwarz Meets Schwann: Design and Fabrication of Biomorphic Tissue Engineering Scaffolds
Tissue engineering is a discipline at the leading edge of the field of computer assisted intervention. This multidisciplinary engineering science is based on the notion of design and fabrication of scaffolds- porous, three-dimensional "trellis-like" biomimetic structures that, on implantation, provide a viable environment to recuperate and regenerate damaged cells. Existing CAD-based approaches produce porous labyrinths with contra-naturam straight edges. The biomorphic geometry that mimics the secundam-naturam substrate would be one that is continuous through all space, partitioned into two not-necessarily-equal sub-spaces by a non-intersecting, two-sided surface. Minimal surfaces are ideal to describe such a space. We present results on the premier attempt in computer controlled fabrication and mechanical characterization of Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces [TPMS]. This initiative is a significant step to link Schwann’s 1838 cell theory with Schwarz’s discovery of TPMS in 1865 to fabricate the previously elusive optimal biomorphic tissue analogs.
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