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Title: The effects and interactions of fabrication parameters on the properties of selective laser sintered hydroxyapatite polyamide composite biomaterials
Authors: Savalani, MM 
Hao, L
Dickens, PM
Zhang, Y
Tanner, KE
Harris, RA
Keywords: Composite materials
Polymer-matrix composite
Powder processing
Rapid manufacturing
Selective laser sintering
Thermal properties of materials
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Source: Rapid prototyping journal, 2012, v. 18, no. 1, p. 16-27 How to cite?
Journal: Rapid Prototyping Journal 
Abstract: Purpose - Hydroxyapatite-polymer composite materials are being researched for the development of low-load bearing implants because of their bioactive and osteoconductive properties, while avoiding modulus mismatch found in homogenous materials. For the direct production of hydroxyapatite-polymer composite implants, selective laser sintering (SLS) has been used and various parameters and their effects on the physical properties (micro and macro morphologies) have been investigated. The purpose of this paper is to identify the most influential parameters on the micro and macro pore morphologies of sintered hydroxyapatite-polymer composites. Design/methodology/approach - A two-level full factorial experiment was designed to evaluate the effects of the various processing parameters and their effects on the physical properties, including open porosity, average pore width and the percentage of pores which could enable potential bone regeneration and ingrowth of the sintered parts. The density of the sintered parts was measured by weight and volume; optical microscopy combined with the interception method was used to determine the average pore size and proportion of pores suitable to enable bone regeneration. Findings - It was found that the effect of build layer thickness was the most influential parameter with respect to physical and pore morphology features. Consequently, it is found that the energy density equation with the layer thickness parameter provides a better estimation of part porosity of composite structures than the energy density equation without the layer thickness parameter. However, further work needs to be conducted to overcome the existing error of variance. Originality/value - This work is the first step in identifying the most significant SLS parameters and their effects on the porosity, micro and macro pore morphologies of the fabricated parts. This is an important step in the further development of implants which may be required.
DOI: 10.1108/13552541211193467
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