3D Printing of Salt as a Template for Magnesium with Structured Porosity

Nicole Kleger, Martina Cihova, Kunal Masania, André R. Studart, Jörg F. Löffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Porosity is an essential feature in a wide range of applications that combine light weight with high surface area and tunable density. Porous materials can be easily prepared with a vast variety of chemistries using the salt-leaching technique. However, this templating approach has so far been limited to the fabrication of structures with random porosity and relatively simple macroscopic shapes. Here, a technique is reported that combines the ease of salt leaching with the complex shaping possibilities given by additive manufacturing (AM). By tuning the composition of surfactant and solvent, the salt-based paste is rheologically engineered and printed via direct ink writing into grid-like structures displaying structured pores that span from the sub-millimeter to the macroscopic scale. As a proof of concept, dried and sintered NaCl templates are infiltrated with magnesium (Mg), which is typically highly challenging to process by conventional AM techniques due to its highly oxidative nature and high vapor pressure. Mg scaffolds with well-controlled, ordered porosity are obtained after salt removal. The tunable mechanical properties and the potential to be predictably bioresorbed by the human body make these Mg scaffolds attractive for biomedical implants and demonstrate the great potential of this additive technique.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1903783
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printing
  • direct ink writing
  • magnesium
  • NaCl
  • salt leaching


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