Felix Benn (ESR 5)
After finishing grammar school in a small-town west-south of Germany, I studied in Aachen at the RWTH University Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration. During my studies I had the chance to work in several internships abroad. I enjoyed and still enjoy discovering new cultures including their customs and languages. The part-time employment as research assistant at the institute WZL RWTH Aachen together with my studies motivated to do a PhD degree by myself. After my last employment with Hilti Deutschland as engineer consultant for fastening technology and a focus on sales, I come back to university to do my PhD in medical engineering. It is highly motivating to have your own research project with full responsibility and creative space as well as having the unique possibility to work in between university and industry. With the BioImplant programme I will gather knowledge of both worlds, get an international network of companies and universities, which will give me a great fundament for my future in the medical engineering sector.
Magnesium (Mg) and its alloys demonstrated in the last decade with CE marked applications for vascular stents, orthopedic screws/ plates for bone fixation its significant potential for biodegradable next generation medical devices. Concurrently, advances in additive manufacturing (AM) facilitate the processing of Mg in patient-specific geometries and with porous structure. Combining Magnesium and AM could enable a novel orthopaedic implant, which offers structural support for the fracture side in load cases, acts osteoconductive through its porous structure and biodegrades concurrently with bone regeneration, thus performing as a bone graft material. A key challenge for Mg is rapid degradation which releases hydrogen that could cause damage to fracture site before bone healing is completed. Hence, it needs to be carefully controlled and understood, which involves the holistic manufacturing route. This is especially relevant to Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), being a high energy inducing AM process, altering microstructure as well as chemical composition and thereby degradation behaviour. Within my PhD I will investigate the manufacturing route for Magnesium scaffolds and the suitability for orthopaedic applications.