Design for additive bio-manufacturing: From patient-specific medical devices to rationally designed meta-biomaterials

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Recent advances in additive manufacturing (AM) techniques in terms of accuracy, reliability, the range of processable materials, and commercial availability have made them promising candidates for production of functional parts including those used in the biomedical industry. The complexity-for-free feature offered by AM means that very complex designs become feasible to manufacture, while batch-size-indifference enables fabrication of fully patient-specific medical devices. Design for AM (DfAM) approaches aim to fully utilize those features for development of medical devices with substantially enhanced performance and biomaterials with unprecedented combinations of favorable properties that originate from complex geometrical designs at the micro-scale. This paper reviews the most important approaches in DfAM particularly those applicable to additive bio-manufacturing including image-based design pipelines, parametric and non-parametric designs, metamaterials, rational and computationally enabled design, topology optimization, and bio-inspired design. Areas with limited research have been identified and suggestions have been made for future research. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the practical aspects of DfAM and the potential of combining AM with subtractive and formative manufacturing processes in so-called hybrid manufacturing processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1607
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences (Online)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Additive bio-manufacturing
  • Design methodology
  • Image-based design
  • Medical devices
  • Meta-biomaterials
  • Rational design

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