BEM evaluation of surface octahedral strains and internal strain gradients in 3D-printed scaffolds used for bone tissue regeneration
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Most of the mechnoregulatory computational models appearing so far in tissue engineering for bone healing predictions, utilize as regulators for cell differentiation mainly the octahedral volume strains and the interstitial fluid velocity calculated at any point of the fractured bone area and controlled by empirical constants concerning these two parameters. Other stimuli like the electrical and chemical signaling of bone constituents are covered by those two regulatory fields. It is apparent that the application of the same mechnoregulatory computational models for bone healing predictions in scaffold-aided regeneration is questionable since the material of a scaffold disturbs the signaling pathways developed in the environment of bone fracture. Thus, the goal of the present work is to evaluate numerically two fields developed in the body of two different compressed scaffolds, which seem to be proper for facilitating cell sensing and improving cell viability and cell seeding efficiency. These two fields concern the surface octahedral strains that the cells attached to the scaffold can experience and the internal strain gradients that create electrical pathways due to flexoelectric phenomenon. Both fields are evaluated with the aid of the Boundary Element Method (BEM), which is ideal for evaluating with high accuracy surface strains and stresses as well as strain gradients appearing throughout the analyzed elastic domain.