Development of polymer based composite filaments for 3D printing
Sammanfattning: The relatively new and still growing field of 3D-printing has opened up the possibilities to manufacture patient-specific medical devices with high geometrical accuracy in a precise and quick manner. Additionally, biocompatible materials are a demand for all medical applications while biodegradability is of importance when developing scaffolds for tissue growth for instance. With respect to this, this project consisted of developing biocompatible and bioresorbable polymer blend and composite filaments, for fused deposition modeling (FDM) printing. Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and polycaprolactone (PCL) were used as supporting polymer matrix while hydroxyapatite (HA), a calcium phosphate with similar chemical composition to the mineral phase of human bone, was added to the composites to enhance the biological activity. PLA and PCL content was varied between 90–70 wt% and 10-30 wt%, respectively, while the HA content was 15 wt% in all composites. All materials were characterized in terms of mechanical properties, thermal stability, chemical composition and morphology. An accelerated degradation study of the materials was also executed in order to investigate the degradation behavior as well as the impact of the degradation on the above mentioned properties. The results showed that all processed materials exhibited higher mechanical properties compared to the human trabecular bone, even after degradation with a mass loss of around 30% for the polymer blends and 60% for the composites. It was also apparent that the mineral accelerated the polymer degradation significantly, which can be advantageous for injuries with faster healing time, requiring only support for a shorter time period.
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