Porous and strong three-dimensional carbon nanotube coated ceramic scaffolds for tissue engineering
Biomaterials research is investigating increasingly complex materials capable of mirroring the highly organized biochemical and architectural environments of the body. Accordingly, tissue scaffolds with nanoscale properties that mirror the fibrous proteins present in tissue are being developed. Such materials can benefit from the inherent dimensional similarities and nanocomposite nature of the cellular environment, altering nanoscale dimensional and biochemical properties to mimic the regulatory characteristics of natural cellular environments. One nanomaterial which demonstrates potential across a diverse range of biomaterial applications is carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Building on previous reports, a method to coat CNTs throughout 3D porous structures is developed. Through modifications to typical chemical vapour deposition (CVD), a high-quality uniform coating of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is demonstrated over β-tricalcium phosphate/hydroxyapatite (or TCP/HA), which is in clinical use; and the high-mechanical-strength multicomponent ceramic Ca2ZnSi2O7–ZnAl2O4, (or Sr-HT-Gah). The resulting materials address deficiencies of previously reported CNT biomaterials by simultaneously presenting properties of high porosity, biocompatibility and a mechanical stability. Together, this unique combination of properties makes these scaffolds versatile materials for tissue engineering in load bearing applications.