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Additive Manufacturing of Biodegradable Magnesium Alloys

Wednesday (10.05.2017)
10:20 - 10:40
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Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies such as laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) offer the economic production of individualized and complex parts. Therefore, L-PBF is commercially being used for manufacturing individual implants derived from medical image data or implants with interconnected porous structures. Typically, these implants are made from titanium alloys. However, for many applications biodegradable implants would enable a superior treatment. Biodegradable implants can dissolve in the human body and subsequently be replaced by the patient’s own bone tissue. By using biodegradable solutions, transplantations of autologous bone could be drastically reduced and many patients could be saved from living with a foreign implant and its side effects. An innovative material class for biodegradable implants are magnesium alloys. Magnesium is essential for the human metabolism, promotes the growth of new bone tissue and offers significantly higher strength than biodegradable polymers. To even increase the potential of magnesium implants, L-PBF enables the manufacturing of scaffold-like structures with designed interconnected porosity. Thereby, new tissue can grow through the whole implant and optimize the resorption process. The implant is reinforced by new tissue during the degradation and degradation products can be efficiently removed. However, magnesium alloys are one of the most challenging materials to process via L-PBF due to the physical and chemical properties such as high reactivity, low evaporation temperature and low density. Nevertheless, it is now possible to manufacture complex implants with interconnected porosity and very promising properties.

Dipl.-Phys. Lucas Jauer
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT