by Staff Writers
Pullman, WA (SPX) Dec 01, 2011
It looks like bone. It feels like bone. For the most part, it acts like bone. And it came off an inkjet printer. Washington State University researchers have used a 3D printer to create a bone-like material and structure that can be used in orthopedic procedures, dental work, and to deliver medicine for treating osteoporosis.
Paired with actual bone, it acts as a scaffold for new bone to grow on and ultimately dissolves with no apparent ill effects.
The authors report on successful in vitro tests in the journal Dental Materials and say they're already seeing promising results with in vivo tests on rats and rabbits.
It's possible that doctors will be able to custom order replacement bone tissue in a few years, says Susmita Bose, co-author and a professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
"If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect," Bose says.
The material grows out of a four-year interdisciplinary effort involving chemistry, materials science, biology and manufacturing.
A main finding of the paper is that the addition of silicon and zinc more than doubled the strength of the main material, calcium phosphate. The researchers also spent a year optimizing a commercially available ProMetal 3D printer designed to make metal objects.
The printer works by having an inkjet spray a plastic binder over a bed of powder in layers of 20 microns, about half the width of a human hair. Following a computer's directions, it creates a channeled cylinder the size of a pencil eraser.
After just a week in a medium with immature human bone cells, the scaffold was supporting a network of new bone cells.
Video of Bose discussing her work can be found here.
Washington State University
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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Princeton technique puts chemistry breakthroughs on the fast track
Princeton NJ (SPX) Nov 30, 2011
Scientists can now take that "a-ha" moment to go with a method Princeton University researchers developed - and successfully tested - to speed up the chances of an unexpected yet groundbreaking chemical discovery. The researchers report this month in the journal Science a technique to accomplish "accelerated serendipity" by using robotics to perform more than 1,000 chemical reactions a day ... read more
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