Material, design and functionalisation

Material development and characterization

Hdrogel precursor synthesis
© Photo Innovent

Hdrogel precursor synthesis

The overall goal of this WPis to provide a new tailored material combination that fulfills the requirements for soft tissue engineering and which is useful to combine ink-jet printing, multiphoton polymerization and electrospinning processes as well as biofunctionalization. The most important challenge of material development is not related to a singular parameter, but rather to combine all desired properties within an appropriate combination of materials. New developed materials, for example, have to be biocompatible with tunable elasticity and possess viscosity suitable for 3D scaffold manufacturing processes. Within this WP the materials will also be evaluated regarding their chemical, physical, thermal and mechanical properties as well as basic properties of cytotoxicity.

The partners involved in this work package are Aalto University and University of Salerno, Innovent Jena, and three Fraunhofer Institutes (Applied Polymer Research, Laser Technology, Mechanics of Materials).  Tailoring of materials is an iterative process which will be done not only as teamwork of this WP partners but also in close co-operation with other work packages related to biological and processing demands.

Modelling and design

Computational fluid dynamics simulation of the flow velocity field in a bifurcation.

The overall goal of this WP is the modelling and design of a vascular system that effectively delivers O2 and other nutrients from the circulating blood flow to the surrounding tissue.

This WP provides the link between biological demands and the scaffold manufacturing and development. Experiments and simulations will be employed in order to develop design rules and 3D models of the artificial vascular system.

Nutrient permeation within the vascular system to the cells will be investigated as well as the requirements for the blood flow through the system. Design tools for generating highly complex 3D CAS models of optimum vascular systems will be developed and 3D models will be translated into an appropriate data format for the latter additive manufacturing processes.

The Partners involved in this WP are the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg and the University of Loughborough.

Biofunctionalization

Non-woven containing two types of simultaneously spun fibres

The overall objective of this WP is the bio-functionalisation of the artificial vascular structures and of the surrounding fibre matrix obtained from Material and process development.

The first goal is to develop blends of synthetic and biological molecules that can be fed into the printing and electro-spinning processes to allow the generation of standardised biofunctional scaffold structures directly during the manufacturing process. For integration of very sensitive biomolecules the second goal is to develop standardised post-process biofunctionalisation protocols with regard to implementation into the “post-processing unit” of the prototype machine. Material functionalisation will be tailored with regard to endothelialisation of the inner tube surface, ingrowth and proliferation of fibroblasts, adipocytes and pericytes inside the surrounding 3D matrix and stimulation of neo-angiogenesis from the endothelialised artificial vessels into the surrounding matrix.

The resulting surface functionalisation and the availability of integrated biomolecules will be analytically characterised.

The Partners of this WP are the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, Sysmelec S.A., Innovent-Jena e.V.  and the University of Stuttgart.