Direct write assembly of calcium phosphate scaffolds using a water-based hydrogel

Acta Biomater. 2010 Jan;6(1):218-28. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2009.06.031. Epub 2009 Jun 27.


The development of materials to support bone regeneration requires flexible fabrication technologies able to tailor chemistry and architecture for specific applications. In this work we describe the preparation of ceramic-based inks for robotic-assisted deposition (robocasting) using Pluronic F-127 solutions. This approach allows the preparation of pseudoplastic inks with solid contents ranging between 30 and 50 vol.%, enabling them to flow through a narrow printing nozzle while supporting the weight of the printed structure. Ink formulation does not require manipulation of the pH or the use of highly volatile organic components. Therefore, the approach can be used to prepare materials with a wide range of compositions, and here we use it to build hydroxyapatite (HA), beta-tricalcium phosphate (beta-TCP) and biphasic (HA/beta-TCP) structures. The flow of the inks is controlled by the Pluronic content and the particle size distribution of the ceramic powders. The use of wide size distributions favors flow through the narrow printing nozzles and we have been able to use printing nozzles as narrow as 100 microm in diameter, applying relatively low printing pressures. The microporosity of the printed lines increases with increasing Pluronic content and lower sintering temperatures. Microporosity can play a key role in determining the biological response to the materials, but it also affects the strength of the structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Bone Regeneration
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Calcium Phosphates / chemistry*
  • Durapatite / chemistry
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Materials Testing
  • Particle Size
  • Poloxamer / chemistry
  • Powders
  • Robotics
  • Temperature
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Hydrogels
  • Powders
  • beta-tricalcium phosphate
  • Water
  • Poloxamer
  • Durapatite