Direct ink writing (DIW) is an extrusion-based additive manufacturing technique that produces high-density ceramic parts with complex shapes in a layer-by-layer fashion by extruding a filament of pseudoplastic paste. It results in high green densities, avoiding the long and complicated de-binding and sintering routes and reducing the slumping risk. This technique can print high-density parts (RD >98%) with good dimensional accuracy and surface finish. Taking inspiration from the hierarchical structure of cells, DIW will be used in this project to create functionally graded Al2O3/ZrO2 ceramic dental implants having a gradient in both radial and axial direction. 

In addition to this, femtosecond laser patterning will be used to create desired micro/nano surface features precisely and repeatedly in the DIW produced ceramic. Femtosecond refers to the pulse duration of the laser which emits pulses of light of duration typically in the femtosecond (10-15 s) range with the option to control parameters like laser power, repetition rate, scanning speed, etc. Under these conditions, the very high peak power density causes highly localized heating and ablation with limited thermal damage to the surrounding material. This method can be applied to even hard materials and the created features can be used to guide the proliferation of cells.  

Funding scheme:  Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO): G095920N 

People involved: Annabel Braem, Mrinal Gaurav Srivastava 

Period: 2020-2023 

Partners: Department of Mechanical Engineering (KU Leuven), Department of Oral Health Sciences (KU Leuven)