Pneumatic micro-extrusion (PME) is a high-resolution direct-write additive manufacturing method, which has been widely utilized for the fabrication of biological tissues, structures, and organs. The PME process allows for non-contact, multi-material deposition of a wide range of functional bio-inks for tissue engineering applications. However, the PME process is inherently complex, governed by complex multi-physics phenomena. Consequently, investigation of the effects of significant process parameters and their interactions on scaffold functional properties would be inevitable.
The overarching goal of this research work is to fabricate defect-free, porous bone scaffolds for the treatment of large osseous fractures. In pursuit of this goal, the objective of the work is to forward an image-based method for the characterization of the pore size distribution as well as the dimensional properties of bone tissue scaffolds, fabricated using the PME process. The developed method will allow for detection of scaffold pores, thus quantification of pore size distribution, and ultimately assessment of the dimensional accuracy of bone tissue scaffolds. The method was validated based on specimens obtained from a single factor experiment. The specimens were composed of PCL, fabricated using the PME process. The results of this study pave the way for fabrication of complex bone scaffolds with accurate dimensional properties for the treatment of bone fractures and defects.