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Mechanical properties of polymeric implant materials produced by extrusion-based additive manufacturing

  • Petersmann, Sandra
  • Spoerk, Martin
  • Van De Steene, Willem
  • Üçal, Muammer
  • Wiener, Johannes
  • Pinter, Gerald
  • Arbeiter, Florian
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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The application of material extrusion-based additive manufacturing methods has recently become increasingly popular in the medical sector. Thereby, thermoplastic materials are likely to be used. However, thermoplastics are highly dependent on the temperature and loading rate in comparison to other material classes. Therefore, it is crucial to characterise these influences on the mechanical properties. On this account, dynamic mechanical analyses to investigate the application temperature range, and tensile tests at different crosshead speeds (103, 101, 10-1 and 10-3 mms-1) were performed on various 3D-printable polymers, namely polyetheretherketone (PEEK), polylactide (PLA), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), glycol-modified poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PETG), poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and polypropylene (PP). It was found that the mechanical properties of PEEK, PLA, PMMA and PETG hardly depend on temperature changes inside the human body. PVDF and PP show a significant decrease in stiffness with increasing body temperatures. Additionally, the dependency of the stiffness on the strain-rate is increasing between PLA, PP, PEEK, PETG, PMMA and PVDF. Besides the mechanical integrity of these materials (strength, stiffness and its strain-rate and temperature dependency inside the body), the materials were further ranked considering their filling density as a measure of their processability. Hence, useful information for the selection of possible medical applications for each material and the design process of 3D-printed implants are provided.

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