The NASA Nebraska Space Grant, the university of Nebraska and Copper3D are currently testing the potential of an antibacterial 3D printing filament. The material is a PLA that integrates a patented additive based on copper nanoparticles and other elements. It can remove all sorts of viruses and bacteria.
Results of this study might enable to overcome health challenges faced by astronauts in space.
The use of antibacterial filaments to manufacture prostheses
In a research paper published on Applied sciences, researchers study the “development of 3D printed prostheses using antibacterial filaments” and “verify the antibacterial properties of the 3D printed prostheses.”
The analysis of the filament made by Copper3D demonstrated that the antibacterial filament, PLACTIVETM, was up to 99.99% effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli with 1% antibacterial nanoparticles additives.
As far as NASA is concerned, it should be noted that astronauts do not always and quickly have access to customized medical care and this includes prosthetics, orthoses, or even other solutions to rapidly treat a wound closure.
Given its versatility, low cost and the possibility to manufacture in situ, 3D printing might be a solution to such issue.
Speaking about this study, Daniel Martínez, Director of Innovation and co-founder of Copper3D, said: “Our main focus has been the development of antibacterial materials with applications in the field of Medicine and Rehabilitation, such as medical/surgical instruments, orthoses, prostheses, applications in the dental world, and healing of complex wounds.”
For Andrés Acuña, CEO and co-founder of Copper3D on the other hand, this collaboration would certainly be maintained over time in order to explore new AM possibilities that can save lives in complex contexts such as intra-hospital infections and environments as hostile as long duration space missions.
The material is already available via the company’s resellers as well as via its Amazon store.
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