Seminar: Additive manufacturing of bio-inspired materials by Dr. Miguel Castilho
As engineers best know, the properties of a material depend on its structure, and the structure depends on the fabrication. Additive Manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing in lay terms, uses computer designs from which 3D objects are fabricated by precise deposition of materials in a layer-by-layer fashion. 3D printing has an enormous potential for (bio)medical applications such as tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, but the development of suitable biomaterials is a large hurdle to overcome. In this respect, the regenerative medicine community is harnessing manufacturing methods for bio-inspired materials that replicate design principles of natural materials. This lecture first outlines the key contributions that I have made to the development of materials for 3D printing, as well as 3D printing technologies, since the start of my research career up to now. Some examples are the self-setting bioceramics for 3D powder printing of customized bone implants, the 3D-printed fibre reinforced hydrogels for articular cartilage and muscle repair, and the recent development of a 3D printing technology method that can operate at both μm and mm length scale and precisely structure organic – inorganic materials with living cells. The second part of the presentation discusses an even more enticing feature in materials manufacturing that I intend to explore in the near future: the use of digital design tools coupled with advanced 3D printing technologies to create materials with locally tuned chemical compositions, structures and properties that can resemble biological materials and ultimately drive tissue repair. This goes from the development of highly-ordered fibrous scaffolds, capable of replicating extracellular microenvironment functions, to the next generation of more practical “semi-autonomous” 3D printers that merge numerical technologies with advanced robotic systems for high-throughput materials manufacturing.