Synthesis and microstructural properties of the scaffold based on a 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate–POSS hybrid towards potential tissue engineering applications
The aim of this work was to develop an efficient approach to prepare a macroporous scaffold for sophisticated bone replacement, avoiding a long-lasting and complex methodology. Such a scaffold based on the 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate–POSS hybrid was synthesized via the reaction of 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate and the trifluoromethanesulfonate–POSS salt. The results show that the chemical composition, structural dimensions, topography, and microstructural properties of the scaffold fulfill the potential requirements for hard-tissue engineering. The microstructural properties were evaluated with the use of X-ray microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) and nanoindentation tests. The former makes it possible to estimate the geometrical measures of the microstructure (porosity, thickness distribution, etc.), whereas the latter makes it possible to estimate the mechanical properties of the constituents of the material (hardness, stiffness modulus, creep, etc.). The aforementioned laboratory testing methods are modern techniques, currently being developed for materials science, making it possible to determine the microstructural/measures of the analyzed system.