Date of Award


Degree Type



Biological and Irrigation Engineering


At $3.07 billion in 2013, the 3D printing industry was projected to reach $12.8 billion in 2018 and exceed $21 billion by 2020 [1]. A lucrative part of this expanding industry includes printing biocompatible medical implants, devices and tissue scaffolds. A common problem encountered with traditional devices and implants, is that they are not unique to the patient, making the surgeries more difficult and less effective. Tissue scaffolds could also benefit from increased strength and biocompatibility. To answer these demands, customizable devices are being produced from patient medical scans and CAD designs using 3D printers. Traditionally, plastics such as poly (lactic acid) (PLA) or poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) are used in 3D printers because of their thermoplastic properties, which make them easy to print. These plastics are typically regarded as biocompatible but can degrade to less biocompatible forms in the body and leave the implant site, causing inflammatory and foreign body responses. Because of these problems, there has been a focus on developing new biomaterials for making customizable and highly biocompatible, resorbable implants.