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Silicon Nitride Biomaterial Gets 3D Print Treatment for the First Time Ever

by • March 26, 2016 • No Comments

  • When discussing various applicable materials for biocompatible implants, actually in light of emerging 3D printing technologies, doctors and their patients are generally restricted to via PEEK (thermoplastic polymer) or titanium materials. But one company out of Salt Lake City, Utah, called Amedica Corporation, has been focutilized on developing medical-grade silicon nitride, a biomaterial that is ‘osteopromotive’, anti-infective, and may actually outcome in faster fusion than other material alternatives. Silicon nitride has been proven to be the optimal implant material for spinal and orthopedic-based operations, but up until now, may only be manufactured with traditional methods. Now, it appears that the Amedica’s R&D team has come a long way with their work, as they’ve only revealed that, for the initially time at any time, their silicon nitride biomaterial can now be fabricated with 3D printing innovation.

    3D printed silicon nitride

    The Amedica team has utilized the one-of-a-kind system of robotic deposition (aka robocasting), an ink-based extrusion method, to made 3D structures of the silicon nitride. To confirm the integrity and validity of the material characteristics, the Amedica team examined the final printed products via scanning electron microscopy, that ultimately proved that the 3D printable silicon nitride matched both the theoretical density and microstructure attributes of traditionally manufactured silicon nitride fusion devices.

    “This innovation speaks to the one-of-a-kind art and science related to our making strength,”said Dr. Sonny Bal, the Chairman and CEO of Amedica Corportation. “3D printing of a complicated ceramic material opens future doors, especially in terms of cost advantages, and addressing a variety of OEM partner needs. Custom additive making is a modern innovation, and we are proud to lead the way in 3D printing of our silicon nitride formulation, with its advantages in bone fusion, antibacterial behavior, and superb strength.”

    Robocasting is the perfect 3D printing system for working with this silicon nitride ceramic biomaterial, as there is no binding involved and production for devices can be accomplished inside 24 hours time. With this newly created method of making silicon nitride devices, Amedica can now move towards making anatomically accurate implants and custom fabrication of bone scaffolds. The future step for Amedica is to commercialize their 3D printable silicon nitride biomaterial, that may someday replace titanium and PEEK material as the optimal choice for patient-specific implants.

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