Controllable four axis extrusion-based additive manufacturing system for the fabrication of tubular scaffolds with tailorable mechanical properties

K.A. van Kampen, E. Olaret, I.C. Stancu, L. Moroni, C. Mota*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Many tubular tissues such as blood vessels and trachea can suffer long-segmental defects through trauma and disease. With current limitations in the use of autologous grafts, the need for a synthetic substitute is of continuous interest as possible alternatives. Fabrication of these tubular organs is commonly done with techniques such as electrospinning and melt electrowriting using a rotational collector. Current additive manufacturing (AM) systems do not commonly implement the use of a rotational axis, which limits their application for the fabrication of tubular scaffolds. In this study, a four axis extrusion-based AM system similar to fused deposition modeling (FDM) has been developed to create tubular hollow scaffolds. A rectangular and a diamond pore design were further investigated for mechanical characterization, as a standard and a biomimicry pore geometry respectively. We demonstrated that in the radial compression mode the diamond pore design had a higher Young's modulus (19,8 +/- 0,7 MPa compared to 2,8 +/- 0,5 MPa), while in the longitudinal tensile mode the rectangular pore design had a higher Young's modulus (5,8 +/- 0,2 MPa compared to 0,1 +/- 0,01 MPa). Three-point bending analyses revealed that the diamond pore design is more resistant to luminal collapse compared to the rectangular design. This data showed that by changing the scaffold pore design, a wide range of mechanical properties could be obtained. Furthermore, a full control over scaffold design and geometry can be achieved with the developed 4-axis extrusion-based system, which has not been reported with other techniques. This flexibility allow the manufacturing of scaffolds for diverse tubular tissue regeneration applications by designing suitable deposition patterns to match their mechanical pre-requisites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111472
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials Science & Engineering C-Materials for Biological Applications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • anastomosis
  • behavior
  • collagen
  • compliance mismatch
  • four axis additive manufacturing
  • graft
  • mechanical characterization
  • pcl
  • prevalence
  • tensile-strength
  • tubular scaffolds
  • vascular tissue engineering
  • Four axis additive manufacturing
  • Tubular scaffolds
  • Mechanical characterization
  • Vascular tissue engineering
  • PCL


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