In this study, calcium phosphate (CaP) powders were blended with a three-dimensional printing (3DP) calcium sulfate (CaSO4)-based powder and the resulting composite powders were printed with a water-based binder using the 3DP technology. Application of a water-based binder ensured the manufacture of CaP:CaSO4 constructs on a reliable and repeatable basis, without long term damage of the printhead. Printability of CaP:CaSO4 powders was quantitatively assessed by investigating the key 3DP process parameters, i.e. in-process powder bed packing, drop penetration behavior and the quality of printed solid constructs. Effects of particle size, CaP:CaSO4 ratio and CaP powder type on the 3DP process were considered. The drop penetration technique was used to reliably identify powder formulations that could be potentially used for the application of tissue engineered bone scaffolds using the 3DP technique. Significant improvements (p < 0.05) in the 3DP process parameters were found for CaP (30-110 μm):CaSO4 powders compared to CaP (< 20 μm):CaSO4 powders. Higher compressive strength was obtained for the powders with the higher CaP:CaSO4 ratio. Hydroxyapatite (HA):CaSO4 powders showed better results than beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP):CaSO4 powders. Solid and porous constructs were manufactured using the 3DP technique from the optimized CaP:CaSO4 powder formulations. High-quality printed constructs were manufactured, which exhibited appropriate green compressive strength and a high level of printing accuracy.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Materials Science and Engineering C: Materials for Biological Applications|
|Early online date||22 Jan 2014|
|Publication status||Published - 01 May 2014|