Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Acta Biomaterialia



First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID





School of Engineering / Centre for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing




Edith Cowan University


Bakhtiari, H., Nouri, A., Khakbiz, M., & Tolouei-Rad, M. (2023). Fatigue behaviour of load-bearing polymeric bone scaffolds: A review. Acta Biomaterialia, 172, 16-37.


Bone scaffolds play a crucial role in bone tissue engineering by providing mechanical support for the growth of new tissue while enduring static and fatigue loads. Although polymers possess favourable characteristics such as adjustable degradation rate, tissue-compatible stiffness, ease of fabrication, and low toxicity, their relatively low mechanical strength has limited their use in load-bearing applications. While numerous studies have focused on assessing the static strength of polymeric scaffolds, little research has been conducted on their fatigue properties. The current review presents a comprehensive study on the fatigue behaviour of polymeric bone scaffolds. The fatigue failure in polymeric scaffolds is discussed and the impact of material properties, topological features, loading conditions, and environmental factors are also examined. The present review also provides insight into the fatigue damage evolution within polymeric scaffolds, drawing comparisons to the behaviour observed in natural bone. Additionally, the effect of polymer microstructure, incorporating reinforcing materials, the introduction of topological features, and hydrodynamic/corrosive impact of body fluids in the fatigue life of scaffolds are discussed. Understanding these parameters is crucial for enhancing the fatigue resistance of polymeric scaffolds and holds promise for expanding their application in clinical settings as structural biomaterials. Statement of Significance: Polymers have promising advantages for bone tissue engineering, including adjustable degradation rates, compatibility with native bone stiffness, ease of fabrication, and low toxicity. However, their limited mechanical strength has hindered their use in load-bearing scaffolds for clinical applications. While prior studies have addressed static behaviour of polymeric scaffolds, a comprehensive review of their fatigue performance is lacking. This review explores this gap, addressing fatigue characteristics, failure mechanisms, and the influence of parameters like material properties, topological features, loading conditions, and environmental factors. It also examines microstructure, reinforcement materials, pore architectures, body fluids, and tissue ingrowth effects on fatigue behaviour. A significant emphasis is placed on understanding fatigue damage progression in polymeric scaffolds, comparing it to natural bone behaviour.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.