, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 1839-1848
Date: 18 Jun 2009

The development of a scanning strategy for the manufacture of porous biomaterials by selective laser melting

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Porous structures are used in orthopaedics to promote biological fixation between metal implant and host bone. In order to achieve rapid and high volumes of bone ingrowth the structures must be manufactured from a biocompatible material and possess high interconnected porosities, pore sizes between 100 and 700 μm and mechanical strengths that withstand the anticipated biomechanical loads. The challenge is to develop a manufacturing process that can cost effectively produce structures that meet these requirements. The research presented in this paper describes the development of a ‘beam overlap’ technique for manufacturing porous structures in commercially pure titanium using the Selective Laser Melting (SLM) rapid manufacturing technique. A candidate bone ingrowth structure (71% porosity, 440 μm mean pore diameter and 70 MPa compression strength) was produced and used to manufacture a final shape orthopaedic component. These results suggest that SLM beam overlap is a promising technique for manufacturing final shape functional bone ingrowth materials.