3D printing/biomimetic composites
Currently, our lab is exploring the application of a stiffness gradient in a porous structure through compressive mechanical testing, computerized tomography (CT) imaging, and finite element modeling (FEM). To highlight the use of mechanical gradients in compressive load-bearing applications utilizing biomimicry of IVDs, the general geometry of a porous IVD scaffold was utilized. The gradient is compared to several other material designs (homogeneous, two-step, and reverse gradients) to investigate the importance of a smooth material change and increased radial stiffness. All groups are compressed to 50% strain and the elastic modulus, toughness at 50% strain, height change, and overall fracture is measured. Thus far, the results indicate that a mechanical gradient with increased radial stiffness allows for balance of the mechanical integrity required to withstand compressive loads and favorable recovery characteristics, crucial for long-lasting performance. Furthermore, the structures with an increased radial stiffness out-perform those with a decreased radial stiffness in all aspects.
This study highlights the added benefits of using a material gradient with increased stiffness under compressive loading that can be applied to a wide range of applications. Furthermore, gradients provide additional design parameters for fine-tuning of mechanical properties through material selection, gradient structure, and geometric optimization.
If you are interested in the most recent 3D printing/biomimetic composite research updates, please feel free to contact Melissa Abed (melissaabed at berkeley dot edu) or Erin Archibeck (erinarchibeck at berkeley dot edu).