METHODS: 15wt% of zirconia (ZrO2) as well as 30, 35, and 40wt% of beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) were compounded with PA 12, followed by the fabrication of filament feedstocks using a single screw extruder. The fabricated filament feedstocks were used to print the impact specimens. The melt flow rate, tensile properties of fabricated filament feedstocks, and 3D printed impact properties of the specimens were assessed using melt flow indexer, universal testing machine, and Izod pendulum tester, respectively. The microstructure of selected filament feedstocks and broken impact specimens were analysed using a field emission scanning electron microscope and universal testing machine. Human periodontal ligament fibroblast cells (HPdLF) were used to evaluate the cytotoxicity of the materials by (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazoliumbromid) (MTT) assay.
RESULTS: Hybrid ceramics filled PA 12 indicated sufficient flowability for FDM 3D printing. The tensile strength of hybrid ceramics filled PA 12 filament feedstocks slightly reduced as compared to unfilled PA 12. However, the tensile modulus and impact strength of hybrid ceramics filled PA 12 increased by 8%-31% and 98%-181%, respectively. A significant increase was also detected in the cell viability of the developed composites at concentrations of 12.5, 25, 50 and 100mg/ml.
SIGNIFICANCE: The newly developed hybrid ceramics filled PA 12 filament feedstock with improved properties is suitable for an FDM-based 3D printer, which enables the creation of patient-specific craniofacial implant at a lower cost to serve low-income patients.