Extrusion additive manufacturing of biodegradable porous iron-based scaffolds for bone repair

The development of iron as biodegradable material for bone implants has advanced significantly in the recent years. To guide bone tissue regeneration, bone implants should (i) precisely match the structure of bone defect, (ii) have mechanical strength in the range of natural bone tissue, (iii) feature interconnected porosity to allow for bone ingrowth and (iv) be biodegradable over time. Iron has the mechanical strength to serve as a suitable material for bone implants. However, iron also faces other challenges, such as slow biodegradation in human body, incompatibility with MRI, and insufficient osteogenic properties for effective bone healing. These challenges have been the primary obstacles preventing the clinical application of iron-based bone implant.

January 2025, 12th edition, The Netherlands

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While most of the challenges have been addressed, there remains a need to tackle them comprehensively. We propose the fabrication of extrusion additively manufactured iron-based composite scaffolds to fulfill all the clinical requirements associated with the development of such biomaterial for bone regeneration. Extrusion additive manufacturing is a straightforward technology capable of creating multi-functional porous structure through multi-material fabrication. Using this technique, we incorporated manganese as alloying element to mitigate the ferromagnetic behavior of iron and akermanite as reinforcing element to enhance the osteogenic performance. Both manganese and akermanite also improved the biodegradation rate of iron in simulated body fluid. Altogether, the extrusion additively manufactured iron-based composites promise bone implant substitutes, motivating further research to evaluate their performance in vivo.

A presentation by Niko Eka Putra, Postdoctoral researcher at Delft University of Technology.

About Niko Eka Putra
Niko Eka Putra earned his PhD in BioMechanical Engineering from Delft University of Technology in 2023. His doctoral research focused on the development of extrusion-based additive manufacturing technology of iron-based scaffolds for bone substitution. Additionally, he conducted research on surface biofunctionalization of bone implants using nanoparticles to address antibiotic-resistant infections. His research interests revolve around 3D printing, biodegradable metals, and the development of biomaterials using sustainable raw resources.

About Delft University of Technology, BioMechanical Engineering Department
BioMechanical Engineering is a Research Department at the Delft University of Technology, located in the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3ME).

The Department of BioMechanical Engineering coordinates the Education and Research activities in the field of Mechanical Engineering techniques, like modeling and design, to analyze the interaction between biological and technical systems.

The Department of BioMechanical Engineering coordinates the Education and Research activities in the field of Mechanical Engineering techniques, like modeling and design, to analyze the interaction between biological and technical systems.

Mission: To understand, design and build technical systems that in their interaction with humans contribute to the Quality and Safety of life.

Vision: Future devices will be used in an increasingly interconnected and complex environment. Optimal and safe interaction of humans, technical systems and materials requires research at the crossroad of biology and mechanical engineering.

For more information go to the website.

Niko Eka Putra is speaker at the 2023 edition of the 3D Medical Conference.