This study aims to describe the preparation of antimicrobial material usable in 3D printing of medical devices. Despite the wealth of technological progress at the time of the crisis caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus: Virus that causes current Pandemic situation (COVID-19), the global population had long been exposed beforehand to an acute absence of essential medical devices. As a response, a new type of composite materials intended for rapid prototyping, based on layered silicate saponite (Sap), antimicrobial dye phloxine B (PhB) and thermoplastics, has been recently developed.
Sap was modified with a cationic surfactant and subsequently functionalized with PhB. The hybrid material in powder form was then grounded with polyethylene terephthalate-glycol (PETG) or polylactic acid (PLA) in a precisely defined weight ratio and extruded into printing filaments. The stability and level of cytotoxicity of these materials in various physiological environments simulating the human body have been studied. The applicability of these materials in bacteria and a yeast-infected environment was evaluated.
Ideal content of the hybrid material, with respect to thermoplastic, was 15 weight %. Optimal printing temperature and speed, with respect to maintaining antimicrobial activity of the prepared materials, were T = 215°C at 50 mm/s for PETG/SapPhB and T = 230°C at 40 mm/s for PLA/SapPhB. 3 D-printed air filters made of these materials could keep inner air flow at 63.5% and 76.8% of the original value for the PLA/SapPhB and PETG/SapPhB, respectively, whereas the same components made without PhB had a 100% reduction of airflow.
The designed materials can be used for rapid prototyping of medical devices.
The new materials have been immediately used in the construction of an emergency lung ventilator, Q-vent, which has been used in different countries during the COVID-19 crisis.
This work was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under contract No. APVV-15–0347, APVV-18–0075 and Grants for Comenius University PhD students and young researchers (UK/163/2017 and UK/403/2018).
Conflict of interest: The authors declare no competing financial interest.
Furka, S., Furka, D., Dadi, N.C.T.C.T., Palacka, P., Hromníková, D., Dueñas Santana, J.A., Pineda, J.D., Casas, S.D. and Bujdák, J. (2021), "Novel antimicrobial materials designed for the 3D printing of medical devices used during the COVID-19 crisis", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 890-904. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-09-2020-0219
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