3D printing of complex architected metamaterial structures by simple material extrusion for bone tissue engineering

Noura Sayed Al Hashimi, Soja Saghar Soman, Mano Govindharaj, Sanjairaj Vijayavenkataraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Triply periodic minimal surfaces (TPMS) are gaining popularity as scaffolds for bioapplications due to their unique structure, offering strong mechanical properties and biomorphic surfaces which enhance cell attachment and proliferation. In this work, polymer TPMS sheet lattices were printed using a well-known yet unprecedented technique of manufacturing such structures; which is material extrusion (specifically, pneumatic melt extrusion). This method offers a one step, straightforward yet reliable way to print complex porous structures while retaining design accuracy and significantly simplifying the process. Multiple primitive, gyroid and cubic structures were designed using MSLattice and Solidworks with 70% porosity and 2×2×3 unit cells. The scaffolds were printed by melt extrusion of polycaprolactone (PCL) at different parameters to establish the optimal settings. Morphological features (pore size and strut thickness) were determined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the accuracy of print was determined by comparing to the design, showing high print accuracy and minimal percentage errors of less than 15% in all prints. Uniaxial compression testing was used to demonstrate the different deformation processes of the scaffolds and evaluate their mechanical properties, with primitive having the highest modulus and gyroid the highest yield strength. Finally, cell viability was quantified by alamar blue cell viability assay and visualized by SEM, displaying significant increase in cell proliferation and attachment, specifically in the primitive structure. Herein we will explain the challenges faced with design and print optimization and how we overcame them, making this work the first of its kind in material extrusion (pneumatic melt extrusion) printing of TPMS scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103382
JournalMaterials Today Communications
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Additive manufacturing (AM)
  • Bone engineering
  • Melt extrusion
  • Triply periodic minimal surfaces (TPMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Chemistry


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