Extrusion-based additive manufacturing of Mg-Zn alloy scaffolds

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Porous biodegradable Mg and its alloys are considered to have a great potential to serve as ideal bone substitutes. The recent progress in additive manufacturing (AM) has prompted its application to fabricate Mg scaffolds with geometrically ordered porous structures. Extrusion-based AM, followed by debinding and sintering, has been recently demonstrated as a powerful approach to fabricating such Mg scaffolds, which can avoid some crucial problems encountered when applying powder bed fusion AM techniques. However, such pure Mg scaffolds exhibit a too high rate of in vitro biodegradation. In the present research, alloying through a pre-alloyed Mg-Zn powder was ultilized to enhance the corrosion resistance and mechanical properties of AM geometrically ordered Mg-Zn scaffolds simultaneously. The in vitro biodegradation behavior, mechanical properties, and electrochemical response of the fabricated Mg-Zn scaffolds were evaluated. Moreover, the response of preosteoblasts to these scaffolds was systematically evaluated and compared with their response to pure Mg scaffolds. The Mg-Zn scaffolds with a porosity of 50.3% and strut density of 93.1% were composed of the Mg matrix and MgZn2 second phase particles. The in vitro biodegradation rate of the Mg-Zn scaffolds decreased by 81% at day 1, as compared to pure Mg scaffolds. Over 28 days of static immersion in modified simulated body fluid, the corrosion rate of the Mg-Zn scaffolds decreased from 2.3 ± 0.9 mm/y to 0.7 ± 0.1 mm/y. The yield strength and Young's modulus of the Mg-Zn scaffolds were about 3 times as high as those of pure Mg scaffolds and remained within the range of those of trabecular bone throughout the biodegradation tests. Indirect culture of MC3T3-E1 preosteoblasts in Mg-Zn extracts indicated favorable cytocompatibility. In direct cell culture, some cells could spread and form filopodia on the surface of the Mg-Zn scaffolds. Overall, this study demonstrates the great potential of the extrusion-based AM Mg-Zn scaffolds to be further developed as biodegradable bone-substituting biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2491-2509
JournalJournal of Magnesium and Alloys
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Biodegradation
  • Magnesium-zinc alloy
  • Material extrusion
  • Porous scaffold


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