Biofabrication research is enabling a transition in medical manufacturing from generic, mass-produced implants to patient-specific solutions with customised external shape and internal porous architecture that mimic natural tissues to improve the healing process.
Melt electro-writing is a rapidly emerging manufacturing technique allowing the production of incredibly small polymer and composite devices. Medical applications are of particular importance using this technique as fine porous microstructures can be manufactured that mimic those of natural tissues, improving tissue integration and biological response.
A significant problem exists with melt electro-writing whereby electric field instabilities disrupt the material deposition process when larger devices are manufactured. This project will investigate and develop methods for overcoming these issues to result in a manufacturing process capable of producing large, complex three-dimensional structures with precisely designed internal microstructure.
A number of established melt electro-writing machines are in operation within our group. This project will involve:
- Design and development of novel methods to improve the manufacturing process. These methods may include mechanical, manufacturing and electrical aspects.
- Sample production and geometric analysis using techniques such as electron microscopy and microCT.
- Process optimisation using different polymer and composite extrusion materials.
This research will result in an improved melt electro-writing technique where micro-scale polymer and composite fibres can be used to manufacture large devices irrespective of size or shape. This allows the production of complex medical devices with precisely engineered lattice structures to guide tissue integration and healing upon implantation. Furthermore, this technology can provide unique manufacturing capabilities for a wide range of additional industrial and engineering applications.
Skills and experience
This work will be undertaken in a dynamic and highly motivated research group with a diverse range of skills ranging from biology to mechatronics and physics. The specific scope of the project and supervisory team will be selected to compliment the student’s technical background. Students undertaking this project will work closely and learn from scientists, engineers and medical doctors who have a keen interest in progressing this technology for medical applications.
You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.
Contact the supervisor for more information.