3D Fabrication and Characterisation of Electrically Receptive PCL-Graphene Scaffolds for Bioengineered In Vitro Tissue Models

Mary Josephine McIvor, Fionn Ó Maolmhuaidh, Aidan Meenagh, Shahzad Hussain, Gourav Bhattacharya, Sam Fishlock, Joanna Ward, Aoife McFerran, Jonathan Acheson, Paul A Cahill, Robert Forster, David J McEneaney, A Boyd, BJ Meenan

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Polycaprolactone (PCL) is a well-established biomaterial, offering extensive mechanical attributes along with low cost, biocompatibility, and biodegradability; however, it lacks hydrophilicity, bioactivity, and electrical conductivity. Advances in 3D fabrication technologies allow for these sought-after attributes to be incorporated into the scaffolds during fabrication. In this study, solvent-free Fused Deposition Modelling was employed to fabricate 3D scaffolds from PCL with increasing amounts of graphene (G), in the concentrations of 0.75, 1.5, 3, and 6% (w/w). The PCL+G scaffolds created were characterised physico-chemically, electrically, and biologically. Raman spectroscopy demonstrated that the scaffold outer surface contained both PCL and G, with the G component relatively uniformly distributed. Water contact angle measurement demonstrated that as the amount of G in the scaffold increases (0.75–6% w/w), hydrophobicity decreases; mean contact angle for pure PCL was recorded as 107.22 ± 9.39°, and that with 6% G (PCL+6G) as 77.56 ± 6.75°. Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy demonstrated a marked increase in electroactivity potential with increasing G concentration. Cell viability results indicated that even the smallest addition of G (0.75%) resulted in a significant improvement in electroactivity potential and bioactivity compared with that for pure PCL, with 1.5 and 3% exhibiting the highest statistically significant increases in cell proliferation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9030
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 17 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors would like to acknowledge the Eastern Corridor Medical Engineering (ECME) Project and its partners, Ulster University, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, and University of the Highlands and Islands, and its funding from the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, IVA5043, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • polycaprolactone
  • electroactivity
  • graphene
  • bioactivity
  • 3D fabrication
  • fused deposition modelling


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