Activity 3: What are scaffolds and how can we make them?
Dr Paxton visited the class again and this time we were learning about what a scaffold if and how it is used in Tissue Engineering to build new body parts. First, Dr Paxton showed us some bone cements that are very hard and used to make artificial bone scaffolds. Then, we were given some alginate solution and some calcium chloride to make own own hydrogel scaffolds! We were shown how to add the alginate into the calcium solution to make little beads. Dr Paxton also gave us food colouring to add to the alginate so that we could make beads of different colours! We were told how hydrogels like alginate can be used to trap cells inside and help them to form tissues for tissue engineering. We then did an experiment to look at the effect of temperature on gel setting times. In different groups we had warm agarose solutions and we had to put these in normal ice, dry ice or sit it on the table and time how long it took to set. We discovered that the colder the environment, the quicker the gels set!