The fabrication of 3-dimensional tissue scaffolds is an essential prerequisite to engineered tissues. A polymer processing technique has been developed in this study to cast the 3D pore architecture of alginate tissue scaffolds. The alginate/calcium gluconate hydrogel was quenched in a mold and freeze dried to form a spongelike architecture whose tiny pores retain the shape of the ice crystals during quenching. Knowing that the water in the alginate hydrogel would form ice crystals if frozen and that different drying might dramatically influence the sublimation of the ice crystals, and therefore the pore architecture, we examined the speed and direction of the heat transfer out of the hydrogel as it freeze dries with regard to pore size and orientation. The pore architecture at the different locations of the fabricated scaffolds was characterized using scanning electron microscopy. It has been found that the pore size, orientation, and uniformity are significantly affected by the condition of heat transfer during freeze drying. Tailoring the pore architecture of the scaffolds is feasible by controlling the heat transfer rate. This study provides an insight on pore architecture formation and control by altered process parameters to improve the mechanical integrity.

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