Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT)
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Christian Doppler Laboratory for Advanced Polymers for Biomaterials and 3D Printing

In the CD laboratory we are eager to answer two important research questions out of the field of oral maxillofacial surgery, which are materials for the 3D printing of implants and bone adhesives to especially treat comminuted fractures.

In the last decade, considerable progress has been made in the field of 3D printed implants. Significant features of such implants are the possibility to manufacture them on the basis of the patients' individual CT scans and that they actually solely act as scaffolds, which support the regrowth of endogenous bone material, biodegrading simultaneously. Requirements of these functions are that (1) the material and its degradation products are non-toxic, (2) it can be manufactured by 3D printing, (3) the implants have a sufficient mechanical stability but also porosity, and (4) that this porosity can be filled with nutritive solutions with growth factors to promote vascularization, i.e., the ingrowth of blood vessels to support tissue growth. Vinyl ester, as basis for the materials, photopolymerized by the aid of light-sensitive photoinitiators have proved themselves as very promising starting materials. In the framework of the CD laboratory we will characterize the single components as well as final constructs from a biomedical and material science points of view.

Bone adhesives are considered to be applicable, whenever bone fixation with screws and/or plates is impossible, for example in case of comminuted fractures. A maximum adhesive force while possessing porosity and biodegradability are prerequisites for bone adhesives. As for the bone implants it is crucial that the material biodegrades over time, while endogenous bone tissue is regenerated.

In both field we will conduct fundamental material research in order to answer scientific questions, like boundary phase effects, layer inhomogeneities or delamination, which is the detachment of layers in 3D printed parts, as well as the interaction of adhesion and cohesion forces in bone adhesives.