Author(s): Murr LE, Gaytan SM, Medina F, Lopez H, Martinez E,
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Abstract In this paper, we examine prospects for the manufacture of patient-specific biomedical implants replacing hard tissues (bone), particularly knee and hip stems and large bone (femoral) intramedullary rods, using additive manufacturing (AM) by electron beam melting (EBM). Of particular interest is the fabrication of complex functional (biocompatible) mesh arrays. Mesh elements or unit cells can be divided into different regions in order to use different cell designs in different areas of the component to produce various or continually varying (functionally graded) mesh densities. Numerous design elements have been used to fabricate prototypes by AM using EBM of Ti-6Al-4V powders, where the densities have been compared with the elastic (Young) moduli determined by resonant frequency and damping analysis. Density optimization at the bone-implant interface can allow for bone ingrowth and cementless implant components. Computerized tomography (CT) scans of metal (aluminium alloy) foam have also allowed for the building of Ti-6Al-4V foams by embedding the digital-layered scans in computer-aided design or software models for EBM. Variations in mesh complexity and especially strut (or truss) dimensions alter the cooling and solidification rate, which alters the alpha-phase (hexagonal close-packed) microstructure by creating mixtures of alpha/alpha' (martensite) observed by optical and electron metallography. Microindentation hardness measurements are characteristic of these microstructures and microstructure mixtures (alpha/alpha') and sizes.
This article was published in Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability