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Copyright (c) 2021 Transactions on Additive Manufacturing Meets Medicine
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The usage of biodegradable polymers as implant material instead of metal is of growing interest because no second surgery is needed and the healing time is shortened. Combining biodegradable polymers with hydroxyapatite particles leads to implants with osteoconductive properties and improved mechanical strength. Using 3D printing it is possible to generate highly structured and complex or even individualized implants based on a patient data set. This work presents a preliminary study on the 3D printing of a commercially available biodegradable poly(L-lactide)/hydroxyapatite composite using the novel composite extrusion modeling (CEM) process. Optimized printing parameters have been investigated and first 3D printed specimens have been analyzed regarding their density and microstructure. Furthermore, first benchmark parts show the potential of manufacturing implants by CEM 3D printing using this composite material.