Biocompatible materials are becoming more common with medical 3D printing. Biocompatibility is the measure of how well a foreign material will be accepted by the human body. This could be anything from skin contact, exposure to bodily fluids, or even contact with bones. What is it that allows certain materials to be biocompatible?
Chemical composition of thermoplastics and photopolymers are the drivers behind biocompatibility. There are several considerations that must be accounted for when developing biocompatible materials, but one of the most crucial parameters is wettability. Wettability refers to how well a fluid will stick to a surface. Basically, the less time a fluid has to react with a foreign surface, the safer that material is for organic usage.
There are three main specifications that material manufacturers look for when testing and approving biocompatible materials: Cytotoxicity, Sensitization, and Irritation. A material must comply with all three of these requirements to be approved for biocompatible usage.
- Cytotoxicity: The degree to which a substance can cause damage to a cell.
- Sensitization: The potential to cause a sensitizing effect or allergic reaction.
- Irritation: The potential to cause an immediate irritation reaction following exposure to the body.
Aside from material composition is the 3D printer setup. A material can be biocompatible and improperly setup in the printer, leading to compromised material properties. That material product is no longer considered biocompatible.
A good example of this is with PolyJet printing. Each material is fed through a series of pumps and tubes until it reaches the jets. When switching out materials from the typical prototype materials, the fluid system must also be changed. This process is performed so that the medical material won’t mix with any residue from the materials previously loaded.
Here at Purple, we have a good selection of solutions for biocompatible applications. Most recently, we have been using our Origin One DLP printer to print medical grade MED 412, MED 413, and 3843. We also use our PolyJet machines to print MED610, MED615, and biocompatible Digital ABS+. These materials are cleared for prolonged skin exposure, from permanent (over 30 days) contact with intact skin to limited (less than 24 hours) contact with compromised surfaces.
By complying with biocompatible regulations, Purple ensures high quality and safe medical parts for your company. Request a free instant quote here.
Meet Doug Simsarian
Meet Purple Porcupine Sales Engineer, Doug Simsarian. Doug focuses on helping customers find the right additive solution for their prototyping and production needs. His favorite part about working about Purple is the diverse projects and exciting applications.
Out of the office, Doug enjoys playing tennis, biking, and working on cars. If you haven’t had the chance to meet Doug yet, connect with him on LinkedIn or stop by our office and say hi!