Static Compressive Behavior and Material Failure Mechanism of Trabecular Tantalum Scaffolds Fabricated by Laser Powder Bed Fusion-based Additive Manufacturing

Jingzhou Yang, Hairui Gao, Dachen Zhang, Xia Jin, Faqiang Zhang, Shupei Zhang, Haishen Chen, Xiaopeng Li

Article ID: 438
Vol 8, Issue 1, 2022, Article identifier:438

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Additively manufactured trabecular tantalum (Ta) scaffolds are promising bone repair materials for load-bearing applications due to their good pore interconnectivity. However, a thorough mechanical behavior evaluation is required before conducting animal studies and clinical research using these scaffolds. In this study, we revealed the compressive mechanical behavior and material failure mechanism of trabecular tantalum scaffolds by compression testing, finite element analysis (FEA), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Trabecular tantalum scaffolds with porosities of 65%, 75%, and 85% were fabricated by laser powder bed fusion-based additive manufacturing. Porosity has a significant effect on their compressive mechanical properties. As the porosity decreased from 85% to 65%, the compressive yield strength and elastic modulus increased from 11.9 MPa to 35.7 MPa and 1.1 GPa to 3.0 GPa, respectively. Compression testing results indicate that trabecular tantalum scaffolds demonstrate ductile deformation and excellent mechanical reliability. No macroscopic cracks were found when they were subjected to strain up to 50%. SEM observations showed that material failure results from tantalum strut deformation and fracture. Most microcracks occurred at conjunctions, whereas few of them appear on the struts. FEA-generated compressive stress distribution and material deformation were consistent with experimental results. Stress concentrates at strut conjunctions and vertical struts, where fractures occur during compression testing, indicating that the load-bearing capability of trabecular tantalum scaffolds can be enhanced by strengthening strut conjunctions and vertical struts. Therefore, additively manufactured trabecular tantalum scaffolds can be used in bone tissue reconstruction applications.


Tantalum scaffold, Additive manufacturing, Bone repair, Compressive behavior, Finite element analysis, Material failure

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