3D Printing and Performance Study of Porous Artificial Bone Based on HA-ZrO2-PVA Composites

Materials 2023 Volume 16, Issue 3, Article 1107

An ideal artificial bone implant should have similar mechanical properties and biocompatibility to natural bone, as well as an internal structure that facilitates stomatal penetration. In this work, 3D printing was used to fabricate and investigate artificial bone composites based on HA-ZrO2-PVA. The composites were proportionally configured using zirconia (ZrO2), hydroxyapatite (HA) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), where the ZrO2 played a toughening role and PVA solution served as a binder. In order to obtain the optimal 3D printing process parameters for the composites, a theoretical model of the extrusion process of the composites was first established, followed by the optimization of various parameters including the spray head internal diameter, extrusion pressure, extrusion speed, and extrusion line width. The results showed that, at the optimum parameters of a spray head diameter of 0.2 mm, extrusion pressure values ranging from 1–3 bar, a line spacing of 0.8–1.5 mm, and a spray head displacement range of 8–10 mm/s, a better structure of biological bone scaffolds could be obtained. The mechanical tests performed on the scaffolds showed that the elastic modulus of the artificial bone scaffolds reached about 174 MPa, which fulfilled the biomechanical requirements of human bone. According to scanning electron microscope observation of the scaffold sample, the porosity of the scaffold sample was close to 65%, which can well promote the growth of chondrocytes and angiogenesis. In addition, c5.18 chondrocytes were used to verify the biocompatibility of the composite materials, and the cell proliferation was increased by 100% when compared with that of the control group. The results showed that the composite has good biocompatibility