Additively manufactured (AM) topologically ordered porous metallic biomaterials with the proper biodegradation profile offer a unique combination of properties ideal for bone regeneration. These include a fully interconnected porous structure, bone-mimicking mechanical properties, and the possibility of fully regenerating bony defects. Most of such biomaterials are, however, based on magnesium and, thus, degrade too fast. Here, we present the first report on topologically ordered porous iron made by Direct Metal Printing (DMP). The topological design was based on a repetitive diamond unit cell. We conducted a comprehensive study on the in vitro biodegradation behavior (up to 28 days), electrochemical performance, time-dependent mechanical properties, and biocompatibility of the scaffolds. The mechanical properties of AM porous iron (E = 1600–1800 MPa) were still within the range of the values reported for trabecular bone after 28 days of biodegradation. Electrochemical tests showed up to ≈12 times higher rates of biodegradation for AM porous iron as compared to that of cold-rolled (CR) iron, while only 3.1% of weight loss was measured after 4 weeks of immersion tests. The biodegradation mechanisms were found to be topology-dependent and different between the periphery and central parts of the scaffolds. While direct contact between MG-63 cells and scaffolds revealed substantial and almost instant cytotoxicity in static cell culture, as compared to Ti-6Al-4V, the cytocompatibility according to ISO 10993 was reasonable in in vitro assays for up to 72 h. This study shows how DMP could be used to increase the surface area and decrease the grain sizes of topologically ordered porous metallic biomaterials made from metals that are usually considered to degrade too slowly (e.g., iron), opening up many new opportunities for the development of biodegradable metallic biomaterials. Statement of Significance: Biodegradation in general and proper biodegradation profile in particular are perhaps the most important requirements that additively manufactured (AM) topologically ordered porous metallic biomaterials should offer in order to become the ideal biomaterial for bone regeneration. Currently, most biodegradable metallic biomaterials are based on magnesium, which degrade fast with gas generation. Here, we present the first report on topologically ordered porous iron made by Direct Metal Printing (DMP). We also conducted a comprehensive study on the biodegradation behavior, electrochemical performance, biocompatibility, and the time evolution of the mechanical properties of the implants. We show that these implants possess bone-mimicking mechanical properties, accelerated degradation rate, and reasonable cytocompatibility, opening up many new opportunities for the development of iron-based biodegradable materials.
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
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- Additive manufacturing
- Direct metal printing
- Iron scaffolds
- Mechanical property