Home Research & Education New 3D-printed titanium composites for bone implants

New 3D-printed titanium composites for bone implants

Titanium and titanium alloys are frequently used as implant materials in orthopaedics due to their excellent mechanical properties, corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. However, alloying elements such as aluminum, vanadium and nickel can pose health risks. In addition, titanium materials have a significantly higher stiffness than natural bone tissue, which can lead to problems such as stress shielding.

Researchers have now produced a promising alternative titanium alloy for the first time using 3D printing. The new material Ti28Nb35,4Zr combines excellent mechanical properties and a low modulus of elasticity with high biocompatibility, the scientists explain.

The alloy was built up as a layered powder in a direct metal deposition (DMD) process and provided with multi-walled carbon nanotubes as a reinforcing phase. The nanotubes improve the mechanical properties and give the material additional electrical conductivity, which can promote wound healing.

Mechanical tests confirmed the high compressive strength and ductility of the composites. They showed no cracking at over 55% compression. Tribological tests also indicated good wear resistance.

In cell culture tests with human bone cells, the new materials proved to be excellently biocompatible and non-cytotoxic. Overall, the results show the great potential of the newly developed 3D-printed titanium composites for load-bearing bone replacement and other implants in the field of regenerative medicine.

Further details can be found in the paper “Novel carbon nanotubes reinforced Ti28Nb35.4Zr matrix composites fabricated via direct metal deposition for bone implant applications“.

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