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Mathematical & computational modelling for 3D-printed bioresorbable orthopaedic implants


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  Dr Marion McAfee, Dr L Creedon, Dr D O'Mahoney, Dr Mert Celikin  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project description:

3D printing is revolutionizing the production of orthopaedic implants by the customization of an implant specific to the patient, which can be rapidly fabricated onsite where and when it is needed. Bioresorbable implants provide temporary mechanical support in areas of damaged tissue but are gradually resorbed by the human body as the patient’s tissue heals. The implant design should be tailored to match the degradation of the implant with the healing process. 

Biocompatible composites made of bioresorbable polymers filled with magnesium (Mg) particles are promising candidates for orthopaedic applications due to ease of low-temperature 3D printing, high mechanical properties, enhanced osseointegration and reduced inflammatory response compared to polymer-only implants. Mg is the second most abundant element in human tissues and plays important roles in neuromuscular activity and supporting a healthy immune system. However, the influence of the shape, composition and dispersion of Mg particles on the polymer degradation, bioresorption and transport processes and resulting mechanical properties and implant degradation profile is not well understood. In this project a mathematical model (using e.g. a cellular automata approach) will be developed to explore the effect of different filler loadings and attributes on the degradation and rate of loss of mechanical properties of biopolymer/magnesium composite tissue scaffolds. The model will be validated against experimental data on 3D printed tissue scaffolds. 

Project objectives: 

  •      Develop mathematical relationships for the degradation processes in magnesium filled biopolymer composites.  
  •      Develop a cellular automata (CA) / compartmental model for 3D representation of degradation and transport processes in a model implant design.  
  •      Integrate the CA model with a voxel FEA solver.  
  •      Link the degradation of the material to mechanical properties of the structure.  
  •      Validate the model against experimental data from simulated degradation tests for 3D printed magnesium filled polymer scaffolds.  
  •     Use the model to explore the effects of filler loading and dispersion on the mechanical properties and degradation rates of the structure.  


to Richella Murphy, [Email Address Removed]  only using the application form.

Application Form / Terms of Conditions can be obtained on the website:

  • The closing date for receipt of applications is extended to 5pm, (GMT) 07th March 2022

Funding Notes

Unit costs per PRTP scholar p/a:
Stipend: €19,000 gross, €16,000 nett (nett stipend of €16,000 p/a is after deduction of €3,000 p/a student contribution).
Tuition fees: Waived by each institute (fee waivers may be partial for non-EU candidates).
Consumables, Mobility, and Training: Up to €3,500 p/a for non-laboratory, desk-based research; Up to €4,500 p/a for studio, or fieldwork research; Up to €5,500 p/a for laboratory-based research

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