Additive manufacturing using selective laser melted titanium is of great value in designing and producing 3D-printed titanium covered with the diamond coating. Source: RMIT 3D-printed titanium covered with the diamond coating. Source: RMIT orthopedic implants, but challenges remain concerning material osseointegration and the susceptibility to bacterial colonization on the implant. While a reliable medical-grade material, titanium can be rejected by the body due to chemical compounds that prevent tissue and bone from interacting effectively with implants.

A materials solution devised by Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) engineers: polycrystalline diamond coatings. Detonation nanodiamonds, which are cheaper than titanium powder, are used to create the coating and enhance biological scaffold interaction to improve medical implant applicability.

According to the researchers, the coating promotes better cellular attachment to the underlying diamond-titanium layer and stimulates the proliferation of mammalian cells. The diamond enhances the integration between the bone and the artificial implant, reduces bacterial attachment over an extended period of time and could also improve wear and resistance.

The coating is fabricated via a microwave plasma process, after which the titanium scaffolds and diamond are combined to create the biomaterial.

The highly conformable coating exhibited excellent bonding to the substrate. Relative to uncoated selective laser melted titanium, the diamond coated samples showed enhanced mammalian cell growth and reduced microbial Staphylococcus aureus activity.

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