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Influence of design and postprocessing parameters on the degradation behavior and mechanical properties of additively manufactured magnesium scaffolds

: Kopp, A.; Derra, T.; Müther, M.; Jauer, L.; Schleifenbaum, J.H.; Voshage, M.; Jung, O.; Smeets, R.; Kröger, N.


Acta biomaterialia 98 (2019), S.23-35
ISSN: 1742-7061
ISSN: 1878-7568
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Magnesium shows promising properties concerning its use in absorbable implant applications such as biodegradability, improved mechanical strength and plastic deformability. Following extensive research, the first fixation and compression screws composed of magnesium rare earth alloys were commercialised, notably in the field of orthopaedic surgery. Preclinical and clinical follow-up studies showed that the rapid degradation of unprotected metallic Magnesium surfaces and concomitant hydrogen gas bursts still raise concern regarding certain surgical indications and need to be further improved. In order to enlarge the scope of further applications, the development of future magnesium implants must aim at freedom of design and reduction of volume, hereby enabling higher functionalised implants, as e.g. plate systems or scaffold grafts for bone replacement therapy. In order to overcome the boundaries of conventional manufacturing methods such as turning or milling, the process of Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) for magnesium alloys was recently introduced. It enables the production of lattice structures, therefore allowing for reduction of implant material volume. Nevertheless, the concomitant increase of free surface of such magnesium scaffolds further stresses the aforementioned disadvantages of vast degradation and early loss of mechanical stability if not prevented by suitable postprocessing methods. Magnesium scaffold structures with different pore sizes were therefore manufactured by LPBF and consequently further modified either by thermal heat treatment or Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO). Implant performance was assessed by conducting degradation studies and mechanical testing. PEO modified scaffolds with small pore sizes exhibited improved long-term stability, while heat treated specimens showed impaired performance regarding degradation and mechanical stability.