Purpose – The main purpose of the present work is to study the effect of nano hydroxyapatite (HA) and graphene oxide (GO) particles on thermal and mechanical performances of 3D printed poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) filaments used in Bone Tissue Engineering (BTE).
Design/methodology/approach – Raw materials were prepared by melt blending, followed by 3D printing via 3D Discovery (regenHU Ltd., CH) with all fabricating parameters kept constant. Filaments, including pure PCL, PCL/HA, and PCL/GO, were tested under the same conditions. Several techniques were used to mechanically, thermally, and microstructurally evaluate properties of these filaments, including Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), tensile test, nano indentation, and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).
Findings – Results show that both HA and GO nano particles are capable of improving mechanical performance of PCL. Enhanced mechanical properties of PCL/HA result from reinforcing effect of HA, while a different mechanism is observed in PCL/GO, where degree of crystallinity plays an important role. In addition, GO is more efficient at enhancing mechanical performance of PCL compared with HA.
Originality/value – For the first time, a systematic study about effects of nano HA and GO particles on bioactive scaffolds produced by Additive Manufacturing (AM) for bone tissue engineering applications is conducted in this work. Mechanical and thermal behaviors of each sample, pure PCL, PCL/HA and PCL/GO, are reported, correlated, and compared with literature.