Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WSU Researchers Use a 3D Printer to Make Bone-like Material - YouTube

It looks like bone. It feels like bone. For the most part, it acts like bone and it came off an inkjet printer.

A ceramic powder and 3D printer have been paired to create a bone-like material that could be used in surgery within the next decade.

The material, which has already been tested in vivo tests on rats and rabbits, could be created to order for dental and orthopedic procedures.

Once inserted in the body, it acts as a scaffold for new human bone cells to grow upon after just a week.

The manmade scaffold will eventually dissolve "with no apparent ill effects".

The material was created following a four-year effort by chemistry, materials science, biology and manufacturing researchers at Washington State University.

The main "ingredient" is calcium phosphate but silicon and zinc were added, which "more than doubled the strength of the main material," the team explained.

Inside the printer, an inkjet nozzle sprays a plastic binder liquid over a bed of the powder in layers of 20 microns.

Susmita Bose, co-author of the paper revealing the results of the project and professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering says that custom-ordered replacement bone tissue could be in common use in the next ten years.

"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," she said.

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