Technical Brief

Use of Polymer Scaffolding and Electroplating to Create Porous Metal Structures

[+] Author and Article Information
Adam Mihalko

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Gannon University,
109 University Square,
Erie, PA 16541
e-mail: mihalko001@knights.gannon.edu

Jordan Felice

Department of Orthopedic Surgery,
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM),
1858 W Grandview Boulevard,
Erie, PA 16509
e-mail: jfelice32150@med.lecom.edu

Allen Madura

Department of Physics,
Gannon University,
109 University Square,
Erie, PA 16541
e-mail: madura004@gannon.edu

Davide Piovesan

Department of Biomedical,
Industrial and Systems Engineering,
Gannon University,
109 University Square,
Erie, PA 16541
e-mail: piovesan001@gannon.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology. Manuscript received February 13, 2017; final manuscript received December 14, 2018; published online March 11, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Harley Johnson.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 141(3), 034501 (Mar 11, 2019) (5 pages) Paper No: MATS-17-1045; doi: 10.1115/1.4042660 History: Received February 13, 2017; Accepted December 31, 2018

Additive manufacturing (AM) offers a fabrication process that provides numerous advantages when compared with traditional fabrication methods. Specifically, AM technology allows for the creation of porous media where porosity and permeability can be precisely controlled. When manufacturing metallic artifacts for biomedical use (e.g., bone implants), the investment in a laser sintering machine can be prohibitive for the budget-conscious enterprises limiting the study and use of this technology. Electroforming, electroplating, and electrotyping have been used for decades to replicate the complex shape of unique artifacts and can be viable techniques to create complex metallic shapes starting from a conductive mandrel. We investigated a fabrication technique that combines the stereolithographic additive manufacturing of a polymeric mandrel with electroforming, to obtain porous composites of polymers and metals. The fabrication method to electroform a porous artifact is presented, and an analytical model of the combined properties of the composite material is provided.

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Fig. 1

Porous rod CAD drawing; all measurements are in millimeters

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Fig. 2

(a) Honeycomb porous structure and (b) approximation of the trabecular in the porous structure

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Fig. 3

Schematic for electroplating

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Fig. 4

(a) Copper electroplated on a treated polymer and (b) an epoxy-potted sample

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Fig. 5

SEM image of a transversal plane showing the polymer–copper interface

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Fig. 6

SEM image layer profile of a polymer—graphite—copper

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Fig. 7

Elastic modulus as a function of porosity



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