Fatigue performance of additively manufactured meta-biomaterials: The effects of topology and material type

S. M. Ahmadi, R. Hedayati*, Y. Li, K. Lietaert, N. Tümer, A. Fatemi, C. D. Rans, B. Pouran, H. Weinans, A. A. Zadpoor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Additive manufacturing (AM) techniques enable fabrication of bone-mimicking meta-biomaterials with unprecedented combinations of topological, mechanical, and mass transport properties. The mechanical performance of AM meta-biomaterials is a direct function of their topological design. It is, however, not clear to what extent the material type is important in determining the fatigue behavior of such biomaterials. We therefore aimed to determine the isolated and modulated effects of topological design and material type on the fatigue response of metallic meta-biomaterials fabricated with selective laser melting. Towards that end, we designed and additively manufactured Co-Cr meta-biomaterials with three types of repeating unit cells and three to four porosities per type of repeating unit cell. The AM meta-biomaterials were then mechanically tested to obtain their normalized S-N curves. The obtained S-N curves of Co-Cr meta-biomaterials were compared to those of meta-biomaterials with same topological designs but made from other materials, i.e. Ti-6Al-4V, tantalum, and pure titanium, available from our previous studies. We found the material type to be far more important than the topological design in determining the normalized fatigue strength of our AM metallic meta-biomaterials. This is the opposite of what we have found for the quasi-static mechanical properties of the same meta-biomaterials. The effects of material type, manufacturing imperfections, and topological design were different in the high and low cycle fatigue regions. That is likely because the cyclic response of meta-biomaterials depends not only on the static and fatigue strengths of the bulk material but also on other factors that may include strut roughness, distribution of the micro-pores created inside the struts during the AM process, and plasticity. Statement of significance Meta-biomaterials are a special class of metamaterials with unusual or unprecedented combinations of mechanical, physical (e.g. mass transport), and biological properties. Topologically complex and additively manufactured meta-biomaterials have been shown to improve bone regeneration and osseointegration. The mechanical properties of such biomaterials are directly related to their topological design and material type. However, previous studies of such biomaterials have largely neglected the effects of material type, instead focusing on topological design. We show here that neglecting the effects of material type is unjustified. We studied the isolated and combined effects of topological design and material type on the normalized S-N curves of metallic bone-mimicking biomaterials and found them to be more strongly dependent on the material type than topological design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
Number of pages13
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Co-Cr
  • Fatigue behavior
  • Porous biomaterial


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