Solvent-cast 3D printing of magnesium scaffolds

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Abstract

Biodegradable porous magnesium (Mg) scaffolds are promising for application in the regeneration of critical-sized bone defects. Although additive manufacturing (AM) carries the promise of offering unique opportunities to fabricate porous Mg scaffolds, current attempts to apply the AM approach to fabricating Mg scaffolds have encountered some crucial issues, such as those related to safety in operation and to the difficulties in composition control. In this paper, we present a room-temperature extrusion-based AM method for the fabrication of topologically ordered porous Mg scaffolds. It is composed of three steps, namely (i) preparing a Mg powder loaded ink with desired rheological properties, (ii) solvent-cast 3D printing (SC-3DP) of the ink to form scaffolds with 0 °/ 90 °/ 0 ° layers, and (iii) debinding and sintering to remove the binder in the ink and then get Mg powder particles bonded by applying a liquid-phase sintering strategy. A rheological analysis of the prepared inks with 54, 58 and 62 vol% Mg powder loading was performed to reveal their viscoelastic properties. Thermal-gravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), carbon/sulfur analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) indicated the possibilities of debinding and sintering at one single step for fabricating pure Mg scaffolds with high fidelity and densification. The resulting scaffolds with high porosity contained hierarchical and interconnected pores. This study, for the first time, demonstrated that the SC-3DP technique presents unprecedented possibilities to fabricate Mg-based porous scaffolds that have the potential to be used as a bone-substituting material. Statement of Significance: Biodegradable porous magnesium scaffolds are promising for application in the regeneration of critical-sized bone defects. Although additive manufacturing (AM) carries the promise of offering unique opportunities to fabricate porous magnesium scaffolds, current attempts to apply the AM approach to fabricating magnesium scaffolds still have some crucial limitations. This study demonstrated that the solvent-cast 3D printing technique presents unprecedented possibilities to fabricate Mg-based porous scaffolds. The judicious chosen of formulated binder system allowed for the negligible binder residue after debinding and the short-time liquid-phase sintering strategy led to a great success in sintering pure magnesium scaffolds. The resulting scaffolds with hierarchical and interconnected pores have great potential to be used as a bone-substituting material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-514
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume114
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Magnesium
  • Scaffold
  • Sintering
  • Solvent-cast

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