Characterization of a Composite Material to Mimic Human Cranial Bone

Report No. ARL-RP-0552
Authors: Thomas A Plaisted; Jared M Gardner; Jeffrey L Gair
Date/Pages: September 2015; 12 pages
Abstract: We report on the development and characterization of a composite material to mimic the mechanical response of human cranial bones. Mimicry of the mechanical response of bone requires a material that can be formed into complex architectures while possessing physical and mechanical characteristics similar to that of bone. We are utilizing additive manufacturing, more generally known as 3-D printing, as a suitable process to reproduce the curvature, variation in thickness, and gradient in porosity characteristic of the human cranial bone. The simulant material consists of a photocurable polymer with a high loading of ceramic particulate reinforcement that is compatible with stereolithographic (SLA) additive manufacturing. Specimens produced by SLA printing were characterized under conditions of quasi-static tensile loading and demonstrated properties that fell within the experimental range of values measured for the human cranial cortical bone as previously reported in the literature. The simulant material demonstrated a tensile modulus of elasticity of 10.3±0.5 GPa compared to the cranial cortical bone property of 12.8±1.6 GPa, while the tensile strength was 78.0±9.7 GPa compared to 72.0±13.8 GPa. Tissue surrogates such as this enable bio-fidelic experimentation and evaluation of protection schemes without the variability and difficulties typically associated with using real human tissue.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2015