Researchers from South Korea have created a silk 3-D material that can be used to create medical implants.
According to 3D Print, while silk is seen as flexible and delicate, a single strand is extremely strong and could be used for implants that require material as strong as steel. It can be used to create strong and stable plates, screws, slops, and pins.
Silk has natural properties, being made of 75% fibroin. Because of this, the implants are biocompatible and can be absorbed safely by the body once the injury heals. With other implants, surgery is usually required afterwards to remove the implant for compatibility reasons. The flexible silk material also allows for the development of custom implants.
The printing system was created by the Rural Development Administration (RDA) and Hallym University.
“Once the technology becomes commercialized, it will allow for the production of a greater variety of biocompatible silk medical equipment, which will help improve national health while developing Korea’s sericulture industry,” said an RDA official.