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3D-printed ‘cartilage’ could be used for spinal implants

3D-printed ‘cartilage’ could be used for spinal implants

Written by David

June 10, 2020

A new liquid crystal material 3D-printed into complex structures can mimic cartilage and other biological tissue, leading the way towards printed spinal discs and other biomedical implants.

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Mechanical engineer Professor Chris Yakacki at the University of Colorado Denver led the team that developed and applied the new material.

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“Everyone’s heard of liquid crystals because you stare at them in your phone display,” said Yakacki. “And you’ve likely heard of liquid crystal polymers because that’s exactly what Kevlar is. Our challenge was to get them into soft polymers, like elastomers, to use them as shock absorbers. That’s when you go down the layers of complexity.”

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The researchers used a 3D printing process called digital light processing (DLP). They developed a ‘honey-like’ liquid crystal resin that cures when hit by ultraviolet light, forming new bonds […]

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