3D printed scoliosis brace; a material challenge
|Startdatum||1 september 2021|
|Einddatum||31 augustus 2022|
Recycling of plastics plays an important role to reach a climate neutral industry. To come to a sustainable circular use of materials, it is important that recycled plastics can be used for comparable (or ugraded) applications as their original use. QuinLyte innovated a material that can reach this goal. SmartAgain® is a material that is obtained by recycling of high-barrier multilayer films and which maintains its properties after mechanical recycling. It opens the door for many applications, of which the production of a scoliosis brace is a typical example from the medical field.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine and wearing an orthopedic brace is the common non-invasive treatment to reduce the likelihood of spinal fusion surgery later. The traditional way to make such brace is inaccurate, messy, time- and money-consuming. Because of its nearly unlimited design freedom, 3D FDM-printing is regarded as the ultimate sustainable technique for producing such brace.
From a materials point of view, SmartAgain® has the good fit with the mechanical property requirements of scoliosis braces. However, its fast crystallization rate often plays against the FDM-printing process, for example can cause poor layer-layer adhesion. Only when this problem is solved, a reliable brace which is strong, tough, and light weight could be printed via FDM-printing.
Zuyd University of Applied Science has, in close collaboration with Maastricht University, built thorough knowledge on tuning crystallization kinetics with the temperature development during printing, resulting in printed products with improved layer-layer adhesion. Because of this knowledge and experience on developing materials for 3D printing, QuinLyte contacted Zuyd to develop a strategy for printing a wearable scoliosis brace of SmartAgain®.
In the future a range of other tailor-made products can be envisioned.
Thus, the project is in line with the GoChem-themes: raw materials from recycling, 3D printing and upcycling.
Consortiumpartnersbij aanvang project
- Maastricht University
- QuinLyte Material Technology B.V.