It was hypothesized that the nonlinear load-displacement relationship displayed by bone could be
conferred on an implant by tailoring its structure, yielding an enhanced mechanical stimulation of the tissues.
Composite structures would feature piezoelectric properties that could also stimulate osteogenesis. Preliminary
mechanical and electromechanical investigations of such porous structures are presented. Initial trial bowtie
specimens with various aspect ratii were made from Nickel powder via a solid free form process and from
stainless steel shim stocks. Poled Barium Titanate plates were sandwiched between stainless steel bowtie cells
to create composite structures.
Results: Under quasi-static compression, the Nickel structures displayed a nonlinear mechanical behavior at
small strains and an overall strain-stress relationship similar to bone. Under cyclic compressive tests to 0.6
percent strain, all structures presented a repeatable nonlinear strain-stress behavior. The curves were fitted by a
second-order polynomial whose coefficients are function of the relative density of the structure to a power n.
Composite stainless steel/BaTiO3 bowtie structures confirmed that their electromechanical properties can be
Discussion: Certain patients present metabolic degeneration that hamper bone healing. A ductile and tough
structural material with piezoelectric properties such as the new composite structures in development presents
the potential to overcome those limitations. They could have the advantages of existing devices without some of
the drawbacks. Those porous implants may reduce the needs, costs, and risks linked to the additional use and
implementation of an electrical stimulator and BMPs. Furthermore, the solid free form technique gives control
over the mechanical properties of the structure. Thus, the mechanotransduction activity of biologic cells can be
fully exploited to trigger a faster implant-tissue bonding, which could lead to reduction of surgical cost and