Sintx’s Development of SN/PAEK Filaments for Medical 3D Printing

With SINTX’s recent acquisition of polymer processing equipment (e.g., twin-screw extruder and ancillary equipment, plastic shredder/recycler, injection molder, and medical-grade 3D printer), we are now able to develop novel composite filaments for use in fabricating next-generation medical implants via additive manufacturing. 

Newly acquired polymer processing equipment:

polymer processing equipment

Composite materials have long been used to exploit characteristics of different materials by combining them. The composites we are making at SINTX consist of our silicon nitride powder in a matrix of PEEK (Polyether ether ketone) or PEKK (Polyether ketone ketone) which belong to the family of PAEK (Polyaryletherketone) polymers. PAEK polymers are semi-crystalline thermoplastics with high temperature, mechanical, and chemical resistance properties. With these composite 3D printing filaments, we are now able to combine silicon nitride’s demonstrated hydrophilicity, radiopacity (favorable imaging via x-ray detection), antipathogenic, and osteogenic properties with the mechanical properties of PEEK and PEKK which are similar to that of human bone for use in medical implants.

PEEK & PEKK Monomers:

PEEK and PEKK Monomers

With this equipment, we intend to utilize our expertise in ceramics and polymer processing with our growing knowledge of 3D printing to produce complex, novel implant designs of varying silicon nitride compositions. Our medical-grade 3D printer will allow us to fabricate parts with textures and porosities, features that cannot be produced by any other manufacturing method. Our development of composite filament will allow us to produce implants with enticing characteristics like decreased chance of infection, biocompatibility, favorable mechanical properties, and osteogenic properties to further increase the body’s likelihood of acceptance of the implant. At SINTX, we seek to continuously enhance our implants’ abilities to improve patient outcome for happier and healthier lives.

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