Silk fibroin is a useful protein polymer for biomaterials and tissue engineering. In this work, porogen leached scaffolds prepared from aqueous and HFIP silk solutions were reinforced through the addition of silk particles. This led to about 40 times increase in the specific compressive modulus and the yield strength of HFIP-based scaffolds. This increase in mechanical properties resulted from the high interfacial cohesion between the silk matrix and the reinforcing silk particles, due to partial solubility of the silk particles in HFIP. The porosity of scaffolds was reduced from ≈90% (control) to ≈75% for the HFIP systems containing 200% particle reinforcement, while maintaining pore interconnectivity. The presence of the particles slowed the enzymatic degradation of silk scaffolds.
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