Physical and chemical characterization of synthetic bone mineral ink - For additive manufacturing applications

Paulo G. Coelho, Daniel Eckstein, Cristobal Rivera, Vasudev Vivekanand Nayak, James E. Smay, Dindo Mijares, Nick Tovar, Lukasz Witek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bone defects are often linked to congenital disorders, high impact traumas, tumors or oncological resections. Potential treatment options include autografts, allografts, or synthetic grafts, such as bioactive ceramic-based materials which have been successfully utilized in an effort to regenerate bone. β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP), is a commonly utilized bioactive ceramic for regenerative purposes with favorable osteoconductive properties. Alternatively, Synthetic Bone Mineral (SBM) has been previously utilized in in vivo experiments as a supplement for bone loss treatment. As a potential alternative to β-TCP, it is also a bioactive ceramic, which consists of a carbonate hydroxyapatite with ionic substitutions such as F, Zn2+ and Mg2+. The objective of this work was to characterize the physiochemical properties of the colloidal gel obtained from a formulation of SBM and compare the properties directly to β-TCP. Mechanical properties were evaluated for both materials in bulk, using Biaxial Flexural Strength tests. Scanning electron microscopy and micro-computed tomography were utilized to explore the structure of the bulk material and the three dimensionally (3D) printed scaffolds. Inductive coupled plasma (ICP), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FT-IR), were utilized to determine the calcium-phosphorous ratio (Ca:P), quantitative analysis of crystalline phases, and functional groups, respectively. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was used to quantify the weight percent of water, organic components, carbonate and mineral in the SBM colloidal gel. Flexural strength of SBM discs sintered at 700°C were statistically analogous to β-TCP sintered at 900°C. The Ca:P ratio of the sintered SBM was found to be 1.47 ± 0.04, statistically different from β-TCP sintered at higher temperatures. The carbonate content of the SBM was determined to be ~2.8% ± 0.9. The novel SBM colloidal gel has hence been characterized chemically and physically for its potential use in 3D printing grafts to repair critical sized bone defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100024
JournalAnnals of 3D Printed Medicine
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Bioceramics
  • Bone Graft Material
  • Chemical/Physical Characterization
  • Synthetic Bone Mineral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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