3D printer helps scientists make bone-like material

This technology uses a ceramic compound to reproduce bone substitutes, intended to eventually replace metallic implants.

Tested on rats and rabbits, these prototypes are promising, according to Susmita Bose, co-author and a professor in WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, but it will take another decade or more before the surgeons can use it on a regular basis.

“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 invention is the result of four years work involving knowledge of chemistry, materials engineering, biology and manufacturing technologies.

According to experts, the resistance of the material is due to the addition of silicon and zinc, which double the resistance of the basic material – calcium phosphate, the main mineral substance human bones contain.