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The researchers used ti-tantalum alloy to improve the stress absorption of 3d-printed implants

The researchers used selective laser melting (SLM) technology and ti-al powder to 3D print the prototype. SLM technology typically USES high-power lasers to build 3D objects layer by layer based on computer design models. But because of the element's long-lasting effects on nerves, scientists are hoping to find other materials to replace it.

To this end, Florencia Edith Wiria of A * STAR's Singapore institute of manufacturing technology (SIMTech) and Wai Yee Yeong of nanyang technological university's Singapore 3D printing center initiated A collaborative research project to develop an innovative metal blend to use SLM technology to 3D print better titanium alloy bio-medical products.

In theory, titanium and tantalum alloys are perfectly fine because both metals are biocompatible and their mechanical properties are due to pure titanium. But tantalum has a very high melting point (more than 3,000 degrees Celsius), which means that turning titanium into a spherical metal powder that can be used in SLM technology is hardly economically feasible. The common tantalum powder on the market is usually formed by gas atomization of long coarse particles.

To overcome this, the team mixed the crude tantalum powder with another microspherical titanium powder already on the market. After mixing the two materials for half a day, they observed that the mixture could be laid more evenly, making it easier for SLM to use. Microscopic experiments revealed that the spherical shape of the titanium remained after the mixture was mixed, which is key to the successful use of the mixture in 3D printing.
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