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Sensors 2017, 17(3), 459; doi:10.3390/s17030459

Bismuth Infusion of ABS Enables Additive Manufacturing of Complex Radiological Phantoms and Shielding Equipment

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, 100 Galvin Life Science Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
Turner MedTech Inc., 1119 South 1680 West, Orem, UT 84058, USA
Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, 236 Nieuwland Science Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
Harper Cancer Research Institute, University of Notre Dame, 1234 N Notre Dame Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jae-Won Choi and Erik D. Engeberg
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printed Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3923 KB, uploaded 24 February 2017]   |  


Radiopacity is a critical property of materials that are used for a range of radiological applications, including the development of phantom devices that emulate the radiodensity of native tissues and the production of protective equipment for personnel handling radioactive materials. Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a fabrication platform that is well suited to creating complex anatomical replicas or custom labware to accomplish these radiological purposes. We created and tested multiple ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) filaments infused with varied concentrations of bismuth (1.2–2.7 g/cm3), a radiopaque metal that is compatible with plastic infusion, to address the poor gamma radiation attenuation of many mainstream 3D printing materials. X-ray computed tomography (CT) experiments of these filaments indicated that a density of 1.2 g/cm3 of bismuth-infused ABS emulates bone radiopacity during X-ray CT imaging on preclinical and clinical scanners. ABS-bismuth filaments along with ABS were 3D printed to create an embedded human nasocranial anatomical phantom that mimicked radiological properties of native bone and soft tissue. Increasing the bismuth content in the filaments to 2.7 g/cm3 created a stable material that could attenuate 50% of 99mTechnetium gamma emission when printed with a 2.0 mm wall thickness. A shielded test tube rack was printed to attenuate source radiation as a protective measure for lab personnel. We demonstrated the utility of novel filaments to serve multiple radiological purposes, including the creation of anthropomorphic phantoms and safety labware, by tuning the level of radiation attenuation through material customization. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D printing; imaging phantoms; CT scans; medical imaging; radiopacity; multi-material; additive manufacturing 3D printing; imaging phantoms; CT scans; medical imaging; radiopacity; multi-material; additive manufacturing

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ceh, J.; Youd, T.; Mastrovich, Z.; Peterson, C.; Khan, S.; Sasser, T.A.; Sander, I.M.; Doney, J.; Turner, C.; Leevy, W.M. Bismuth Infusion of ABS Enables Additive Manufacturing of Complex Radiological Phantoms and Shielding Equipment. Sensors 2017, 17, 459.

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