Mechanical performance of auxetic meta-biomaterials

H. M.A. Kolken*, K. Lietaert, T. van der Sloten, B. Pouran, A. Meynen, G. Van Loock, H. Weinans, L. Scheys, A. A. Zadpoor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


The innovative design of orthopedic implants could play an important role in the development of life-lasting implants, by improving both primary and secondary implant fixations. The concept of meta-biomaterials aims to achieve a unique combination of mechanical, mass transport, and biological properties through optimized topological design of additively manufactured (AM) porous biomaterials. In this study, we primarily focused on a specific class of meta-biomaterials, namely auxetic meta-biomaterials. Their extraordinary behavior of lateral expansion in response to axial tension could potentially improve implant-bone contact in certain orthopedic applications. In this work, a multitude of auxetic meta-biomaterials were rationally designed and printed from Ti–6Al–4V using a commercially available laser powder bed fusion process called selective laser melting. The re-entrant hexagonal honeycomb unit cell was used as a starting point, which was then parametrically tuned to obtain a variety of mechanical and morphological properties. In this two-step study, the morphology and quasi-static properties of the developed meta-biomaterials were assessed using mechanical experiments accompanied with full-field strain measurements using digital image correlation. In addition, all our designs were computationally modelled using the finite element method. Our results showed the limits of the AM processes for the production of auxetic meta-biomaterials in terms of which values of the design parameters (e.g., re-entrant angle, relative density, and aspect ratio) could be successfully manufactured. We also found that the AM process itself imparts significant influence on the morphological and mechanical properties of the resulting auxetic meta-biomaterials. This further highlights the importance of experimental studies to determine the actual mechanical properties of such metamaterials. The elastic modulus and strength of many of our designs fell within the range of those reported for both trabecular and cortical bone. Unprecedented properties like these could be used to simultaneously address the different challenges faced in the mechanical design of orthopedic implants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103658
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Auxetics
  • Meta-biomaterials
  • Meta-implants
  • Poisson's ratio


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanical performance of auxetic meta-biomaterials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this