Ti6Al4V alloy patient-customized implants (PCI) are often fabricated using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) and annealed to enhance the microstructural, physical and mechanical properties. This study aims to demonstrate the effects of annealing on the physio-mechanical properties to select optimal process parameters.
Test samples were fabricated using the Taguchi L9 approach by varying parameters such as laser power (LP), laser velocity (LV) and hatch distance (HD) to three levels. Physical and mechanical test results were used to optimize the parameters for fabricating as-built and annealed implants separately using Grey relational analysis. An optimized parameter set was used for fabricating biological test samples, followed by animal testing to validate the qualified parameters.
Two optimized sets of process parameters (LP = 100 W, LV = 500 mm/s and HD = 0.08 mm; and LP = 300 W, LV = 1,350 mm/s and HD = 0.08 mm) are suggested suitable for implant fabrication regardless of the inclusion of annealing in the manufacturing process. The absence of any necrosis or reaction on the local tissues after nine weeks validated the suitability of the parameter set for implants.
To help PCI manufacturers in parameter selection and to exclude annealing from the manufacturing process for faster implant delivery.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is probably a first attempt that suggests LPBF parameters that are independent of inclusion of annealing in implant fabrication process.
The investigation involved preparing the samples and conducting the experiments using medical device development and medical metal printing facilities at Biomedical Engineering and Technology Innovation Centre (BETIC), IIT Bombay, established with funding support from RG Science and Technology Commission, Mumbai and the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi. The authors acknowledge the support of Prof Sushil Mishra for providing access to the Microstructural Mechanics and Microforming Lab and Advanced Mechanical Testing Facility, IIT Bombay, for microstructural study and mechanical tests.
Declaration of competing interests: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
Ethical standard statement: All institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.
Gaur, B., Sagar, S., Suryawanshi, C.M., Tikekar, N., Ghyar, R. and Bhallamudi, R. (2022), "Effect of annealing on physio-mechanical properties and laser parameter selection of additively manufactured Ti6Al4V orthopedic implants", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-05-2022-0149
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