From microstructural design to surface engineering: A tailored approach for improving fatigue life of additively manufactured meta-biomaterials

S. M. Ahmadi, R. Kumar, E. V. Borisov, R. Petrov, S. Leeflang, Y. Li, N. Tümer, R. Huizenga, C. Ayas, A. A. Zadpoor, V. A. Popovich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, lattice titanium manufactured by additive manufacturing (AM) techniques has been utilized in various applications, including biomedical. The effects of topological design and processing parameters on the fatigue behaviour of such meta-biomaterials have been studied before. Most studies show that the fatigue life of additively manufactured lattice structures is limited. Post-processing techniques could play a major role in improving the fatigue of these promising biomaterials. This study aims to provide an in-depth investigation into the effects of heat treatments, hot isostatic pressing (HIP), sand blasting, and chemical etching on the microstructure, surface morphology, strength and fatigue resistance of selective laser melted titanium meta-biomaterials. It was found that the combination of microstructural design and surface engineering, induced by HIP and sand blasting respectively, allows to increase the endurance limit of these lattice meta-biomaterials by a factor of two. HIP treatment substantially decreased the internal porosity and transformed the microstructure to a more ductile mixture of α + β phases. Sand blasting allowed to eliminate surface imperfections and induced favourable compressive stress in the surface layer of the struts. Statement of Significance: Additively manufactured metallic meta-biomaterials are progressively being used as bone replacement orthopedic implants. While there is a great amount of research related to topological designs and their effect on mechanical (e.g. stiffness), physical (e.g. mass transport), and biological (e.g. osseointegration) properties, fatigue lifetime of such structures remains limited. This study provides fundamental investigation into the combined effect of microstructural design and surface engineering of titanium meta-biomaterial, enabled through various post treatment methods ranging from heat treatments to physical and chemical surface modifications. The findings show that fatigue life is significantly improved by applying developed herein novel method, which effortlessly can be used on other bone-mimicking metallic meta-biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-166
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Fatigue behaviour
  • Heat treatment
  • Metallic meta-biomaterials
  • Surface modification


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