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This work aims at providing guidance through systematic experimental characterization for the design of 3D-printed scaffolds for potential orthopedic applications, focusing on fused deposition modeling with a composite of clinically available polycaprolactone (PCL) and β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP). First, we studied the effect of the chemical composition (0–60% β-TCP/PCL) on the scaffold’s properties. We showed that surface roughness and contact angle were, respectively, proportional and inversely proportional to the amount of β-TCP and that degradation rate increased with the amount of ceramic. Biologically, the addition of β-TCP enhanced proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of C3H10. Second, we systematically investigated the effect of the composition and the porosity on the 3D-printed scaffold mechanical properties. Both an increasing amount of β-TCP and a decreasing porosity augmented the apparent Young’s modulus of the 3D-printed scaffolds. Third, as a proof of concept, a novel multimaterial biomimetic implant was designed and fabricated for potential disc replacement.
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