Render of the printed material killing bacteria.

A team of researchers at the University of Arkansas has developed a new 3D printing technique to create ferroelectric materials that could help prevent harmful bacteria growth in medical implants.

Medical implants, such as pacemakers and artificial joints, can often become infected with bacteria, leading to complications and even implant failure. The researchers found that by 3D printing the ferroelectric materials onto the surface of the implant, they were able to create a surface that would repel bacteria.

Ferroelectric materials have unique properties that allow them to switch polarity when an electric field is applied. The researchers found that by 3D printing these materials onto an implant, they could create a surface that would alternate between positive and negative charges, which repels bacteria.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Shield, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Arkansas and one of the researchers on the project, “The 3D printing of these ferroelectric materials provides a unique capability to create surfaces that can not only generate an electric field, but also shape the field through the design of the printed structure.”

The team hopes that this new technique could lead to the development of medical implants that are resistant to bacterial infections, reducing the need for antibiotics and other treatments that can cause further complications for patients. They are also exploring the use of these materials in other applications, such as water filtration.

Dr. Shield added, “This research is a significant step forward in the use of ferroelectric materials for biomedical applications. It opens up new avenues for the development of advanced medical devices that can fight harmful bacteria and other microorganisms.”

By The Impactlab