Prathviraj Upadhyaya is a PhD researcher at I-Form and is based in Waterford IT working in the area of metal additive manufacturing. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from India and then went on to complete his Master’s in Advanced Engineering Materials from the University of Limerick (UL). His main research interests are in the areas of metal additive manufacturing (AM), additive manufacturing of biodegradable metals, porous structures and their combined uses in biomedical sector.
Research Interests (Lay Summary)
Prathviraj started his PhD with I-Form in 2019 and is investigating the structure property relationship of additively manufactured magnesium alloys. AM is an advanced manufacturing technique which enables novel production of parts, such as bespoke medical devices for patients, and is currently a rapidly growing field of medical treatment. Coupling it with the bio-absorption property of Magnesium, will further improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients. While Titanium implant technology represents the current state-of-the-art, there is currently a great deal of interest in the creation of implants for orthopaedic reconstruction that are biodegradable. A key candidate biodegradable material is Magnesium and its alloys which can be additively manufactured into complex structures for such applications as jaw reconstruction, maxillofacial reconstruction, and cardiac implants. Biodegradable (or bio-absorbable) metals represents a potential giant leap forward for the treatment of a myriad of medical conditions, not only with regard to orthopaedic, but also with regard to cardiac and neuro-vascular treatments (stents).
Additive manufacturing is a relatively contemporary manufacturing technique and is described as a layer-by-layer material deposition method of manufacturing. AM facilitates the production of components, such as lattice structures, which cannot be produced by traditional manufacturing techniques and which can be used in medical implant devices. An advantage of additive manufacturing is that greater part complexity can be incorporated which does not increase manufacturing costs.
Magnesium alloys are a promising new class of degradable biomaterials that have a similar stiffness to bone, which minimizes the harmful effects of stress shielding. Use of biodegradable magnesium implants eliminates the need for a second surgery for repair or removal. There is a growing interest to capitalize on additive manufacturing's unique design capabilities to advance the frontiers of medicine. However, magnesium alloys are difficult to 3D print due to the high chemical reactivity that poses a combustion risk. Furthermore, the low vaporization temperature of magnesium and common biocompatible alloying elements further increases the difficulty to print fully dense structures that balance strength and corrosion requirements.
The high corrosion rate of magnesium in physiological environment produces hydrogen gases which further creates complications in usage of magnesium as implant materials. Therefore, the degradation rate of magnesium alloys needs to be defined, predicted and controlled. The corrosion properties of magnesium results in a loss of mechanical properties in physiological environments, hence the mechanical properties of additively manufactured magnesium alloys need to be studied and controlled in order for this material to be used in bioresorbable implants.
The focus of this research is to develop a structure-property relationship for additively manufactured magnesium alloys. This will involve investigating the effect of additive manufacturing parameters on the microstructure and the quality of these alloys. The degradation rate and mechanical properties of additively manufactured magnesium alloys in physiological environment will also be explored and controlled.