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LZH develops customized dental implants in a new DFG research group

11 Aug 2022

Laser additive manufacturing enabling more durable, better-fitting false teeth.

Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) is working on more durable, particularly well-fitting dental implants as part of a DFG research group. The scientists want to use Additive Manufacturing to produce titanium implants with an innovative lattice structure.

The implants, which are individually adapted to the recipient’s mouth, should ensure a good fit for the wearer and remain functional for a long time, says LZH. Within the framework of the interdisciplinary research group 5250, LZH is researching the reproducible production of implants made of Ti6Al-4V alloy with adjustable, graded porosity.

Graded materials for resilience

This titanium alloy is noted for its high strength and corrosion resistance. Due to its excellent biocompatibility, the metal is used in many medical applications, such as orthopedic surgery and prostheses.

To be able to precisely adjust the stiffness of the implant, the LZH researchers employ lattice structures. With the help of the lattice structures, they want to adapt the implant to the modulus of elasticity, i.e. the stiffness, of the human bone. In this way, they want to develop more resilient and ultimately more durable implants.

They also want to make use of the advantages of graded materials: By varying the lattice structure within the component, the implant has different mechanical properties. An important question for scientists is how these graded mechanical properties of additively manufactured implants can be adapted to given load scenarios.

Correct parameters

The project partners are not only varying the lattice structures, but also the process conditions of the laser-based powder bedding process, such as the laser power.

The knowledge thus gained about the influences of the process and geometry parameters on the microstructure, mechanical properties, surface topography, corrosion, and failure properties of the implants should help to reproducibly manufacture implants in which porosity, surface properties, and microstructure can each be adjusted.

The research group 5250 “Mechanism-based characterization and modeling of permanent and bioresorbable implants with tailored functionality based on innovative in vivo, in vitro and in silico methods” was initiated by the German Research Foundation (“DFG”) at the end of 2021.

The DFG is funding the group for an initial four years with around €3.4 million. It is located at the TU Dortmund; scientists from TU Dortmund, LZH, Reutlingen University, Hannover Medical School (MHH), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Rostock University Medical Center and Leibniz University Hannover are involved.

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