3D-printed ceramic triply periodic minimal surface structures for design of functionally graded bone implants

Sanjairaj Vijayavenkataraman, Lai Yee Kuan, Wen Feng Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stress shielding is one of the main problems that lead to bone resorption and revision surgery after implantation. Most of the commercially available metallic non-porous bone implants have a much greater stiffness than the native human bones and are prone to cause stress-shielding. With an open cell structure and intricate architecture, hyperbolic minimal surfaces offer several advantages such as less stress concentration, high permeability and high surface area to volume ratio, thus providing an ideal environment for cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. This paper explores the use of porous bone implant design based on Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces (TPMS) which is additively manufactured with ceramic material (Alumina) using Lithography-based Ceramics Manufacturing (LCM) technology. A total of 12 different primitive surface structure unit cells with pore size in the range of 500–1000 μm and porosity above 50% were considered. This is one of the earliest studies reporting the 3D printing of TPMS-based structures using ceramic material. Our results suggest that the choice of material and a porous TPMS-based design led to fabrication of structures with a much lesser compressive modulus comparable with the native bone and hence could potentially be adopted for bone implant design to mitigate the stress-shielding effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108602
JournalMaterials and Design
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • 3D printing
  • Bone implants
  • Ceramics
  • Stress-shielding
  • Triply periodic minimal surfaces
  • Vat polymerization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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