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Additive Manufacturing of Bone Grafts
Our Direct Coagulation Printing (DCP) technology allows for isotropic sintering of ceramics
Ceramic Grafts vs. Autografts or Allografts
Compared to autograft (graft tissue is taken from another part of a patient’s body) or allograft (harvesting graft tissue from a living donor or cadaver) procedures, ceramic graft materials such as hydroxyapatite (HAp) do not face quantity limitations, carry no risk of morbidity or infection of the donor site, and are easily sterilized and stored.
Advantages of Direct Coagulation Printing
Unlike most ceramics which are generally fragile, have poor mechanical strength, and can be difficult to mold into a desired shape; the DCP process allows for 3D printing complex geometries without the need for “pre-scaffold” structures. Additionally, the inherent isotropic sintering of the material allows for increased mechanical properties, to control sintered density (to match the bone density at the location of the graft), and reduce the failure rate of manufactured parts.
3D Printing of Carbide and Nitride Ceramics
Compared to other Additive Manufacturing methods, our SLRS technology does not require post-processing and has no change in volume of the printed part. This process is able to manufacture parts from ceramic materials such as SiC, Si3N4, AlN, HfC, ZrC, TiC, HfN, ZrN, TiN, TaC, and TaN.
Applications of AM Ceramics
Printed ceramics can vastly increase the electrical efficiency in powered devices by managing the energy lost as heat. This is particularly important for electric vehicle manufacturers as the industry moves towards “Zero Emissions” transportation. Heat sinks and other cooling architecture can be modeled with more complex geometry, the manufacturing process uses less material allowing for faster production of prototypes, and can be used to reduce part count in integrated electronics.
How does the SLRS process work?
The SLRS process is similar to standard SLS metal printing, though instead of using an inert gas to allow for increased bonding between particles and to expunge any oxygen, the chamber is filled with a reactive gas which the sintering laser breaks down and causes a reaction to form a non-oxide ceramic.
The powder used is a mix of the metal and metal-oxide precursor, the metal experiences a positive volume change while the oxide undergoes a negative volume change. By optimizing the ratio of metal to metal-oxide powder, “net-shape” geometry can be produced. The SLRS process is materials agnostic which lends itself to any carbide or nitride ceramic.
This manufacturing method does not require post processing unlike other non-oxide ceramic AM solutions. With other technologies, a plastic binder may be used and the printed object will need to undergo a debinding and sintering process which shrinks the part anisotropically, or the part may require supports that need to be cut or machined away. SLRS technology will greatly reduce the turnaround time for non-oxide ceramic parts and use less energy compared to other methods.