Morphological and mechanical biomimetic bone structures

Rachna Parwani, Marco Curto, Alex Kao, Peter Rowley, Martino Pani, Gianluca Tozzi, Asa Barber

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Cortical bone is an example of a mineralized tissue containing a compositional distribution of hard and soft phases in 3-dimensional space for mechanical function. X-ray computed tomography (XCT) is able to describe this compositional and morphological complexity but methods to provide a physical output with sufficient fidelity to provide comparable mechanical function is lacking. A workflow is presented in this work to establish a method of using high contrast XCT to establish a virtual model of cortical bone that is manufactured using a multiple material capable 3D printer. Resultant 3D printed structures were produced based on more and less remodelled bone designs exhibiting a range of secondary osteon density. Variation in resultant mechanical properties of the 3D printed composite structures for each bone design was achieved using a combination of material components and reasonable prediction of elastic modulus provided using a Hashin-Shtrikman approach. The ability to 3D print composite structures using high contrast XCT to distinguish between compositional phases in a biological structure promises improved anatomical models as well as next-generation mechano-mimetic implants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2761-2767
Number of pages7
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number11
Early online date19 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2017


  • bone
  • mechanics
  • 3D printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • x-ray tomography
  • composites


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