A simple method for fabricating 3-D multilayered composite scaffolds

Cédryck Vaquette, Justin Cooper-White

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58 Citations (Scopus)


One limitation of electrospinning stems from the charge build-up that occurs during processing, preventing further fibre deposition and limiting the scaffold overall thickness and hence their end-use in tissue engineering applications targeting large tissue defect repair. To overcome this, we have developed a technique in which thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) and electrospinning are combined. Thick three-dimensional, multilayered composite scaffolds were produced by simply stacking individual polycaprolactone (PCL) microfibrous electrospun discs into a cylindrical holder that was filled with a 3% poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) solution in dimethylsulfoxide (a good solvent for PLGA but a poor one for PCL). The construct was quenched in liquid nitrogen and the solvent removed by leaching out in cold water. This technique enables the fabrication of scaffolds composed principally of electrospun membranes that have no limit to their thickness. The mechanical properties of these scaffolds were assessed under both quasi-static and dynamic conditions. The multilayered composite scaffolds had similar compressive properties to 5% PCL scaffolds fabricated solely by the TIPS methodology. However, tensile tests demonstrated that the multilayered construct outperformed a scaffold made purely by TIPS, highlighting the contribution of the electrospun component of the composite scaffold to enhancing the overall mechanical property slate. Cell studies revealed cell infiltration principally from the scaffold edges under static seeding conditions. This fabrication methodology permits the rapid construction of thick, strong scaffolds from a range of biodegradable polymers often used in tissue engineering, and will be particularly useful when large dimension electrospun scaffolds are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4599-4608
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Composite
  • Electrospinning
  • Multilayered
  • TIPS

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