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Final Report Summary - BIOTIP (Injection moulding of titanium powders for biomedical applications)

The main objective of the project BIOTIP was the development of an appropriate metal injection moulding (MIM) technology for titanium processing, which would employ a novel plasma atomised powder of perfect sphericity for manufacturing high quality biomedical implant devices, meeting the stringent standards for this kind of materials in a cost-effective way.

Work has consisted in working with two different feedstocks and carrying out modifications to the simple geometry mould to improve the injection conditions. It has been possible with one of the feedstocks to obtain parts without defects, as ascertained in the characterisation stage, and with acceptable 30 seconds long injection cycles, which is a major improvement with respect to the previous situation.

Using the powder of Pyrogenesis and that of Erothitan IFAM produced feedstocks and characterised them with respect to their rheology and homogeneity, we found that the moulding of the feedstock was possible and that the homogeneity was good.

The solvent debinding problems have been solved satisfactorily and the thermal cycle has been studied and modified until defect free brown parts have been obtained. Finally, the sintering work carried out show that good results can be obtained if elements pick-up is controlled; oxygen entry during thermal debinding being the main problem. This indicates that there is a limit to the thickness of parts that can be processed with this feedstock, about 4 mm, which rules out the simple geometry part.

Good progress has been obtained by solving all the major problems that barred the applicability of the developed feedstock to produce MIM parts, except the oxygen pick-up problem. Experiments showed that good results are also within reach for the complex geometry with the most interesting application being small typical parts in dental implants.