Chemically Treated 3D Printed Polymer Scaffolds for Biomineral Formation.


We present the synthesis of nylon-12 scaffolds by 3D printing and demonstrate their versatility as matrices for cell growth, differentiation, and biomineral formation. We demonstrate that the porous nature of the printed parts makes them ideal for the direct incorporation of preformed nanomaterials or material precursors, leading to nanocomposites with very different properties and environments for cell growth. Additives such as those derived from sources such as tetraethyl orthosilicate applied at a low temperature promote successful cell growth, due partly to the high surface area of the porous matrix. The incorporation of presynthesized iron oxide nanoparticles led to a material that showed rapid heating in response to an applied ac magnetic field, an excellent property for use in gene expression and, with further improvement, chemical-free sterilization. These methods also avoid changing polymer feedstocks and contaminating or even damaging commonly used selective laser sintering printers. The chemically treated 3D printed matrices presented herein have great potential for use in addressing current issues surrounding bone grafting, implants, and skeletal repair, and a wide variety of possible incorporated material combinations could impact many other areas.