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This article reviews the current status and contemporary challenges involved in 3D inkjet powder printing of metallic biomaterials. The process physics, comprising of drop-on-demand methodology and binder-powder interaction are briefly discussed. For the later, various dimensionless numbers (Re, Oh and We) are emphasized as they govern the morphology and travel of the binder droplet. The post-impact interaction with powder particles are described into three sequential stages as, impact driven, capillary driven and equilibrium attainment. A review of several binder formulations to 3D print metallic biomaterials is presented along with the guidelines. Non-destructive 3D structural analysis, using advanced X Ray micro-computed tomography (XCT) technique is emphasized for porous architecture assessment (pore volume fraction, pore shape and size distribution, % interconnectivity) and dimensional tolerance. Finally, the processing and post-processing related challenges in terms of the suitable models for real time powder-binder interaction study, limitations in depowdering, heat treatment strategy, surface roughness are emphasized.

This article originally appeared in Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering 2, 2017, Pages 116-123.

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