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3D printing has already made a serious impact on the construction of prosthetics and other medical devices over the last few years, and this looks set to continue as the technology progresses. The development of new materials should be a particularly large contributing factor, with bio-materials offering a whole range of advantages due to their organic basis. A team of researchers at TU Delft have recently created new bio-metamaterials that show promise for the future 3D printing of hip implants, due to its unique combination of important properties.
Implant loosening is one of the problems that can affect the long-term effectiveness of medical devices, particularly ones made for the hip region. By the year 2020, the number of hip prostheses around the world is expected to rise to 2.5 million a year, and with the current technology, about 10 percent of these implants will no longer be firmly fixated 10 years after surgery. The TU Delft team, led by Amir Zadpoor, set out solve this problem by 3D printing implants that will be more permanently fixed, with the combination of two types of bio-metamaterial. One is a conventional bio-metamaterial, whereas the other is what is referred to as an auxetic bio-metamaterial.
Meta-biomaterials - Variant - Metamaterials - Materials - Display
Meta-biomaterials are the biomedical variant of so-called metamaterials, materials that display characteristics that are not found in nature. What’s special about the auxetic variant is that they have a negative Poisson’s ratio, which means that when stretched, they become thicker perpendicular to the applied force. According to Zapdoor, "Auxetic meta-biomaterial, designed using simple geometry and printed in titanium, displays the unique mechanical property of expanding when put under pressure. This makes it ideal for use alongside materials that do the opposite...When someone with a hip implant walks, the prosthesis is subjected to various forces. If too much pressure develops on one...
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