Additively manufactured metallic porous biomaterials based on minimal surfaces: A unique combination of topological, mechanical, and mass transport properties

F. S. L. Bobbert, K. Lietaert, Ali Akbar Eftekhari, B. Pouran, S. M. Ahmadi, H. Weinans, A. A. Zadpoor

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Porous biomaterials that simultaneously mimic the topological, mechanical, and mass transport properties of bone are in great demand but are rarely found in the literature. In this study, we rationally designed and additively manufactured (AM) porous metallic biomaterials based on four different types of triply periodic minimal surfaces (TPMS) that mimic the properties of bone to an unprecedented level of multi-physics detail. Sixteen different types of porous biomaterials were rationally designed and fabricated using selective laser melting (SLM) from a titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V). The topology, quasi-static mechanical properties, fatigue resistance, and permeability of the developed biomaterials were then characterized. In terms of topology, the biomaterials resembled the morphological properties of trabecular bone including mean surface curvatures close to zero. The biomaterials showed a favorable but rare combination of relatively low elastic properties in the range of those observed for trabecular bone and high yield strengths exceeding those reported for cortical bone. This combination allows for simultaneously avoiding stress shielding, while providing ample mechanical support for bone tissue regeneration and osseointegration. Furthermore, as opposed to other AM porous biomaterials developed to date for which the fatigue endurance limit has been found to be of their yield (or plateau) stress, some of the biomaterials developed in the current study show extremely high fatigue resistance with endurance limits up to 60% of their yield stress. It was also found that the permeability values measured for the developed biomaterials were in the range of values reported for trabecular bone. In summary, the developed porous metallic biomaterials based on TPMS mimic the topological, mechanical, and physical properties of trabecular bone to a great degree. These properties make them potential candidates to be applied as parts of orthopedic implants and/or as bone-substituting biomaterials.Statement of SignificanceBone-substituting biomaterials aim to mimic bone properties. Although mimicking some of bone properties is feasible, biomaterials that could simultaneously mimic all or most of the relevant bone properties are rare. We used rational design and additive manufacturing to develop porous metallic biomaterials that exhibit an interesting combination of topological, mechanical, and mass transport properties. The topology of the developed biomaterials resembles that of trabecular bone including a mean curvature close to zero. Moreover, the developed biomaterials show an unusual combination of low elastic modulus to avoid stress shielding and high strength to provide mechanical support. The fatigue resistance of the developed biomaterials is also exceptionally high, while their permeability is in the range of values reported for bone. (C) 2017 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Pages (from-to)572-584
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Porous biomaterials
  • Selective laser melting
  • Ti-6Al-4V
  • Bone regeneration
  • Implant fixation

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