Title: Rapid manufacturing of bioceramic/polymer composite implants by selective laser sintering

Authors: L. Hao, M.M. Savalani, R.A. Harris, Y. Zhang, K.E. Tanner

Addresses: School of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QF, UK. ' Rapid Manufacturing Research Group, Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK. ' Rapid Manufacturing Research Group, Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK. ' Department of Materials, Queen Mary University of London, London, E1 4NS, UK. ' Department of Materials, Queen Mary University of London, London, E1 4NS, UK

Abstract: Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), an additive rapid manufacturing technique, is capable of producing the required product directly and automatically from a Three-Dimensional (3D) computer model representation. SLS has been selected to build implant and scaffold structures using composite materials consisting of a polymer and a bioactive ceramic. HydroxyApatite (HA), a bioceramic that encourages bone apposition, can be combined with High Density PolyEthylene (HDPE), a biocompatible polymer, to form a material with appropriate stiffness, toughness and bioactivity for use in the body. A miniature SLS system was built to minimise the usage of the expensive experimental material. It was used to determine the CO2 laser sintering operation window of the HA/HDPE composites and to investigate the effect of the process parameters on the surface morphology of the sintered HA/HDPE layer. The potential of SLS for the rapid manufacture of customised implants using HA/HDPE composite is demonstrated by the sintering of a five-layer HA-HDPE block.

Keywords: bioceramics; biomedical applications; biopolymers; direct implant fabrication; HA-HDPE composites; rapid prototyping; selective laser sintering; SLS; bone implants; hydroxyapatite prostheses; rapid manufacturing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2009.026667

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2009 Vol.36 No.1, pp.25 - 31

Published online: 22 Jun 2009 *

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