AM for SpaceBioprintingCeramic Additive Manufacturing

3D printed ceramic fluid manifolds improve in-space bioprinting

Techshot and Lithoz investigate benefits of ceramic 3D printed fluid manifolds

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

Over 400 kilometers from Earth, advances are being achieved in the field of bioprinting. In November, the 3D BioFabrication Facility (BFF) was delivered to the International Space Station, where it is being used to test how bioinks and printed human cells react in a microgravity environment. As it turns out, the bioprinter’s output isn’t the only thing being evaluated: the performance of 3D printed ceramic components for bioprinting applications is also being tested.

Aerospace engineering consultancy Techshot, which launched nScrypt’s BFF into space last July, enlisted the help of ceramics 3D printing company Lithoz America to produce a series of 3D printed ceramic fluid manifolds. These components, which were launched into space along with the BFF system, are being tested as part of Techshot’s tissue conditioning system.

Ceramic manifolds in-space bioprinting

According to recent results, the printed ceramic parts are having a positive effect on the bioprinted samples, with December’s yield of biological constructs being significantly larger than July’s.

Lithoz America and Techshot collaborated to develop the ceramic fluid manifolds, which are designed for use inside bioreactors, to determine whether they would be superior to polymer manifolds, which were tested aboard the ISS over the summer. The bioreactors are a critical step in the bioprinting process, as they provide nutrients to the living materials printed in space.

The manifolds, which were printed using an LCM-based CeraFab 3D printer, are now being evaluated based on their biocompatibility, precision, durability and fluid flow dynamics. So far, the results are promising. For instance, the ceramic materials are more biocompatible than the printable polymers.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Lithoz,” said Dr. Carlos Chang, Techshot Senior Scientist. “Their expertise in ceramic procssing really made these parts happen.”

Shawn Allan, Lithoz Vice President, added: “The success of ceramic additive manufacturing depends on working together with design, materials and printing. Design for Ceramic Additive Manufacturing principles were used along with print parameter control to achieve Techshot’s complex fluid-handling design with the confidence needed to use the components on ISS.”

As the in-space research continues, the partners will turn their focus to optimizing the integration of the ceramic fluid manifolds and achieving longer culturing periods for the bio-materials. The conditioned human tissues printed in space are expected to return to Earth early this year. Further evaluation can them be conducted.

Research 2021
Ceramic AM Market Opportunities and Trends

This market study from 3dpbm Research provides an in-depth analysis and forecast of the ceramic additive ma...

Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

Related Articles

Back to top button

We use cookies to give you the best online experience and for ads personalisation. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services



Join industry leaders and receive the latest insights on what really matters in AM!

This information will never be shared with 3rd parties

I’ve read and accept the privacy policy.*