A combined additive manufacturing and micro-syringe deposition technique for realization of bio-ceramic structures with micro-scale channels
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- Vlasea, M., Shanjani, Y., Bothe, A. et al. Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 68: 2261. doi:10.1007/s00170-013-4839-7
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This article presents a novel rapid layered manufacturing approach based on a combined additive manufacturing (AM) process and a UV-based micro-syringe deposition (μSD) technique to be used in the fabrication of bio-ceramic structures with controlled micro-sized channels for bone and osteochondral tissue regeneration. In the proposed rapid manufacturing method, micro-scale sacrificial photopolymer networks are integrated within the manufactured part by depositing the photopolymer on selected bio-ceramic powder layers using an injection system. This AM–μSD method along with a post-processing protocol can potentially overcome current limitations of traditional powder-based AM approaches that are restricted in terms of complexity of internal architecture and feature size. For bone or osteochondral repair applications, the material system composed of the bio-ceramic and sacrificial photopolymer, along with the post-processing protocol, must ensure that the final implants are free from manufacturing residuals that could trigger an immune response post-implantation. In this study, calcium polyphosphate bio-ceramic was used as the substrate material based on prior art, polyvinyl alcohol solution was used as the powder binding agent, and ethoxylated (10 bisphenol A diacrylate) photopolymer solution was used as the sacrificial photopolymer element. Material characterization suggests that the proposed material system along with heat treatment protocol is suitable for the targeted applications where micro-scale channels within the implant are produced by AM–μSD.