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Bone-like material created with 3D printer

Thursday December 01, 2011 09:27:29 PM, IANS

Washington: It looks, feels and acts like a real bone -- but it has come off from an inkjet printer.

Washington State University researchers have used a 3D printer to create a bone-like material and structure that can be used in orthopaedic procedures, dental work and even to deliver medicine for treating osteoporosis.

Paired with actual bone, it acts as a scaffold for new bone to grow on and ultimately dissolves with no apparent ill effects, the journal Dental Materials reports.

It's possible that doctors will be able to custom order replacement bone tissue in a few years, says Susmita Bose, co-author and a professor in Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

"If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect," Bose says. They're already seeing promising results with in vivo (body) tests on rats and rabbits, according to a university statement.

The material grows out of a four-year inter-disciplinary effort involving chemistry, materials science, biology and manufacturing.

A main finding is that the addition of silicon and zinc more than doubled the strength of the main material, calcium phosphate. The researchers also spent a year optimising a commercially available ProMetal 3D printer designed to make metal objects.

The printer works by having an inkjet spray a plastic binder over a bed of powder in layers of 20 microns, about half the width of a human hair. Following a computer's directions, it creates a channelled cylinder the size of a pencil eraser.

After just a week in a medium with immature human bone cells, the scaffold was supporting a network of new bone cells, researchers found.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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