Investigation into the Hybrid Production of a Superelastic Shape Memory Alloy with Additively Manufactured Structures for Medical Implants

Materials (Basel). 2021 Jun 5;14(11):3098. doi: 10.3390/ma14113098.


The demographic change in and the higher incidence of degenerative bone disease have resulted in an increase in the number of patients with osteoporotic bone tissue causing. amongst other issues, implant loosening. Revision surgery to treat and correct the loosenings should be avoided, because of the additional patient stress and high treatment costs. Shape memory alloys (SMA) can help to increase the anchorage stability of implants due to their superelastic behavior. The present study investigates the potential of hybridizing NiTi SMA sheets with additively manufactured Ti6Al4V anchoring structures using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology to functionalize a pedicle screw. Different scanning strategies are evaluated, aiming for minimized warpage of the NiTi SMA sheet. For biomechanical tests, functional samples were manufactured. A good connection between the additively manufactured Ti6Al4V anchoring structures and NiTi SMA substrate could be observed though crack formation occurring at the transition area between the two materials. These cracks do not propagate during biomechanical testing, nor do they lead to flaking structures. In summary, the hybrid manufacturing of a NiTi SMA substrate with additively manufactured Ti6Al4V structures is suitable for medical implants.

Keywords: NiTi; additive manufacturing; application; implant; medical; shape memory alloys (SMA); superelasticity.