In this paper, ultrasound measurements of 1:1 scale three-dimensional (3D) printed trabecular bone phantoms are reported. The micro-structure of a trabecular horse bone sample was obtained via synchrotron x-ray microtomography, converted to a 3D binary data set, and successfully 3D-printed at scale 1:1. Ultrasound through-transmission experiments were also performed through a highly anisotropic version of this structure, obtained by elongating the digitized structure prior to 3D printing. As in real anisotropic trabecular bone, both the fast and slow waves were observed. This illustrates the potential of stereolithography and the relevance of such bone phantoms for the study of ultrasound propagation in bone.
Comparison between the real horse bone (left) and the printed one (right)
The 3D printer used for this work is the DW 028 J Plus.18 A photo-reactive resin is solidified point by point by a focused laser beam, and the desired 3D structure is built up layer by layer.