The growing interest in multi-functional metallic biomaterials for bone substitutes challenges the current additive manufacturing (AM, =3D printing) technologies. It is foreseeable that advances in multi-material AM for metallic biomaterials will not only allow for complex geometrical designs, but also improve their multi-functionalities by tuning the types or compositions of the underlying base materials, thereby presenting unprecedented opportunities for advanced orthopedic treatments. AM technologies are yet to be extensively explored for the fabrication of multi-functional metallic biomaterials, especially for bone substitutes. The aim of this review is to present the viable options of the state-of-the-art multi-material AM for Ti-, Mg-, and Fe-based biomaterials to be used as bone substitutes. The review starts with a brief review of bone tissue engineering, the design requirements, and fabrication technologies for metallic biomaterials to highlight the advantages of using AM over conventional fabrication methods. Five AM technologies suitable for metal 3D printing are compared against the requirements for multi-material AM. Of these AM technologies, extrusion-based multi-material AM is shown to have the greatest potential to meet the requirements for the fabrication of multi-functional metallic biomaterials. Finally, recent progress in the fabrication of Ti-, Mg-, and Fe-based biomaterials including the utilization of multi-material AM technologies is reviewed so as to identify the knowledge gaps and propose the directions of further research for the development of multi-material AM technologies that are applicable for the fabrication of multi-functional metallic biomaterials.
- Additive manufacturing
- Bone implant