Fabrication of HA/PHBV composite scaffolds through the emulsion freezing/freeze-drying process and characterisation of the scaffolds

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Biodegradable polymer-based scaffolds containing osteoconductive hydroxyapatite (HA) particles can be very useful for bone tissue engineering. In this investigation, HA nanoparticles were incorporated in poly(hydroxybutyrate- co-valerate) (PHBV) polymer to fabricate osteoconductive composite scaffolds. PHBV and HA/PHBV scaffolds were made using an emulsion freezing/freeze-drying technique. The scaffolds produced were subsequently characterized using several techniques. It was found that the scaffolds were highly porous and had interconnected porous structures. The pore size ranged from several microns to around 300 μm. The spherical HA nanoparticles which were produced in-house through a nanoemulsion process could be incorporated into composite scaffolds although some of these nanoparticles existed on the surface of pore walls when a relatively large amount of HA was used for composite scaffolds. The incorporation of HA nanoparticles also enhanced compressive mechanical properties of the scaffolds. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007.

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