Fused deposition modeling (FDM), is a direct-write material extrusion additive manufacturing process, which has emerged as a method of choice for the fabrication of a wide range of biological tissues and structures. FDM allows for non-contact, multi-material deposition of a broad spectrum of functional materials for tissue engineering applications. However, the FDM process is intrinsically complex, consisting of a multitude of parameters as well as material-machine interactions, which may adversely influence the mechanical properties, the surface morphology, and ultimately the functional integrity of fabricated bone scaffolds. Hence, process optimization in addition to physics-based characterization of the FDM process would be inevitably a need.

The overarching goal of this research work is to fabricate biocompatible, porous bone scaffolds, incorporating autologous human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs), for the treatment of osseous fractures, defects, and eventually diseases. The objective of this work is to investigate the mechanical properties of several triply periodic minimal surface (TPMS) bone scaffolds, fabricated using fused deposition modeling (FDM) additive manufacturing process.

In this study, biocompatible TPMS bone scaffolds were FDM-deposited, based on a medical-grade polymer composite, composed of polyamide, polyolefin, and cellulose fibers (named PAPC-II). In addition, the experimental characterization of the TPMS bone scaffolds was on the basis of a single factor experiment. The compression properties of the fabricated bone scaffolds were measured using a compression testing machine. Furthermore, a digital image processing program was developed in the MATLAB environment to characterize the morphological properties of the fabricated bone scaffolds.

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