Additively manufacturing of porous iron offers a unique opportunity to increase its biodegradation rate by taking advantage of arbitrarily complex porous structures. Nevertheless, achieving the required biodegradation profile remains challenging due to the natural passivation of iron that decrease the biodegradation rate. Moreover, the biocompatibility of iron is reported to be limited. Here, we address both challenges by applying poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) coating to extrusion-based 3D printed porous iron. We characterized the specimens by performing in vitro biodegradation, electrochemical measurements, time-dependent mechanical tests, and in vitro cytocompatibility assays. The coated porous iron exhibited a biodegradation rate that was 2.6× higher than that of non-coated counterpart and maintained the bone-mimicking mechanical properties throughout biodegradation. Despite the formation of dense biodegradation products, the coating ensured a relatively stable biodegradation (i.e., 17% reduction in the degradation rate between days 14 and 28) as compared to that of non-coated specimens (i.e., 43% drop). Furthermore, the coating could be identified even after biodegradation, demonstrating the longevity of the coating. Finally, the coated specimens significantly increased the viability and supported the attachment and growth of preosteoblasts. Our results demonstrate the great potential of poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) coating for addressing the multiple challenges associated with the clinical adoption of porous iron.
- Bone substitution
- Extrusion-based 3D printing
- Poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) coating