EU-Network BONEFOAM and recent activities in manufacturing ceramics and metal-ceramic composites for biomedical applications
Presentation held at Advanced Research Workshop "Engineering Ceramics: Materials for Better Life", Smolenice, 10.-14.5.2015
As result of a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Fraunhofer IKTS initiated a network of Danube-state partners called BONEFOAM. This network is aiming on the collective finding of new ideas and submission of common EU-funded projects in the field of biomedical technology. The BONEFOAM network strives for sustainability and innovation basing on new partnerships, interdisciplinary approaches, combination of novel and conventional processes and specific research activities within the general topic of health and well-being. This particular contribution is about recent developments of ceramic parts and ceramic-metal composites at the Fraunhofer IKTS (Dresden) for possible applications in the field of biomedical technology. Currently, the so-called freeze-foaming method, for achieving open porous and mainly interconnected foam structures, was combined with an Additive Manufacturing process (i.e. DLM/LCM technique) which provides personalized and/or complex structures which also serve as pre-molds. After a co-sintering step, composite structures were achieved which combine the advantages of dense and porous features in one single part. These novel, potential bone replacement structures might serve as possible next generation bioceramics/-composites used for personalized implants which, additionally, allow a structural adaption according to the customer's needs. In another project, by tape casting, lamination and a later co-sintering step, metal-ceramic composites were obtained which can be used for an application in the medical technology. As possible bipolar scissors, the ceramic layer is made of zirconia (TZ-3Y-E) and features biocompatibility whereas the other layer consists of 17-4PH steel providing electrical conductivity. Thus on the one hand, the scissor's edge stays sharp (features of zirconia) and bleedings can be stopped right from the beginning by the applied electrical current in the metal layer. The aim of a further project is to develop a miniature button-sized device for a medical application. By tape casting, lamination and a later co-sintering step, metal (17-4PH steel)-ceramic (ZrO2, TZ-3Y-E) composite tapes were obtained which, after a final deep-drawing process, resulted in the desired part the size of a few millimeters in diameter. With its help, a localized tissue vaporization shall takeplace via ignition of a plasma. The required electric current is provided by the electric conductive steel layer whereas the ceramic layer is providing the required dielectric strength.