Jung-Bin Lee (a), Min-Kyung Ahn (a), Young-Hag Koh (a, b), Hyun Lee (c), Hyoun-Ee Kim (c, d)
This study proposes a simple, useful approach to produce three-dimensionally macrochanneled titanium (Ti) scaffolds with tailored porosities and mechanical properties using porous polylactic acid (PLA) templates that can be prepared by conventional solid freeform fabrication (SFF) technique. Specifically, methylcellulose (MC) polymer was used as a binder since it could effectively bind coarse Ti particles and remain chemically stable inert in organic solvents used to dissolve PLA polymer. A Ti slurry-filled PLA was immersed in chloroform to remove the PLA template, followed by sintering at 1300 °C for 3 h in a vacuum. The use of a relatively small amount of a MC binder and removal of the PLA template in solvent enabled the construction of straight Ti frameworks and macrochannels in a 3-D periodic pattern without severe impurity contamination. This tightly controlled porous structure enabled the achievement of high compressive strengths without a catastrophic failure, while the compressive strength increased from ~ 72 MPa to 121 MPa with a decrease in overall porosity from ~ 75 vol% to ~ 67 vol%. In addition, the porous Ti scaffolds showed good biocompatibility, which was assessed by in vitro cell tests in terms of attachment, proliferation, and differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells.