Researchers develop 3D printed parts to fight infectious diseases

3D printing news
  Scientists from the University of Sheffield have integrated antibacterial properties into polymer powders to create 3D printed parts capable of fighting infectious diseases.
  In a study published in Scientific Reports,silver-based additives were combined with PA 12and then processed using an EOS Formiga P100 SLS system to additively manufacture antimicrobial components that were not toxic to human cells.
  Dr. Candice Majewski from Sheffield’s Centre for Advanced Additive Manufacturing, and lead researcher of this research, stated, “Managing the spread of harmful bacteria, infection and the increasing resistance to antibiotics is a global concern. Introducing antibacterial protection to products and devices at the point of manufacture could be an essential tool in this fight.”
  Fights diseases with additive manufacturing
  According to the researchers,antimicrobial products are currently available to purchase, with a growing global market for antimicrobial additives due to the desire to improve health. They can be seen to healthcare inimplants, prosthetics, splints, and surfaces and devices in clinical settings (such as doors, sinks, instruments, and keyboards).
  A selection of 3D printed parts containing and without the antibacterial additive, known asBiocote B65003, intobacterial solutions to test its ability to reduce the number of bacteria after a day. It was found that the parts containing the antibacterial additive were effective against the two main groups of bacteria, Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative (Pseudomonas aeruginosa). This kind of bacteria is known to causelife-threatening diseases such aspneumonia, meningitis,sepsis, and MRSA.
  “The engineering properties of the new composite are indistinguishable from those of the standard polyamide 12 base material,” the study continues. “The material is most effective in nutrient-poor hydrated environments and under these circumstances is able to reduce numbers of planktonic bacteria in its surroundings and numbers of biofilm bacteria attached to the surface.”

A selection of parts made from PA2200 (left) alongside the 1% B65003 composite material (right). Photo via the University of Sheffield.

  Another layer of protection
  Following experimentation, the group has deduced thattheir material could be applicable to intermittently hydrated environments including kitchens, bathrooms and on hospital wards. It can also be seen as another level of protection to coated medicaldevices, which often are subject to strict cleaning, sterilization procedures, causing human errors.
  “Most current 3D printed products don’t have additional functionality. Adding antibacterial properties at the manufacturing stage will provide a step-change in our utilisation of the processes’ capabilities,” added Dr. Majewski.The researchers now plan to conduct field trials to validate laboratory results in real-world settings.
  “Use of silver-based additives for the development of antibacterial functionality in Laser Sintered polyamide 12 parts” is co-authored by Robert D. Turner, James R. Wingham, Thomas E. Paterson, Joanna Shepherd, and Candice Majewski.

(e) X-Ray microtomography section of base material (PA2200), showing pores. (f) X-Ray microtomography section of the composite showing even distribution of silver phosphate glass particles. Image via the University of Sheffield.

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  Featured image shows an X-ray microtomography section of the base material (PA2200), showing pores and an x-Ray microtomography section of the composite showing even distribution of silver phosphate glass particles. Image via the University of Sheffield.

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