SIRIM, in collaboration with industry and academia, has come up with a patent-pending binder system for preparing maxillofacial implants via injection moulding of metal powders. In the injection moulding process, the metal is in powder form instead of rods. This decreases the wastage and increases its affordability. With the metal injection moulding process, fine metal powder is mixed with binder material. The injection moulding machine will then be used to de-bind the binder system, leaving behind the implant or desired part.
In employing metal injection moulding technology, this innovative project utilises palm oil stearin in the binder system. The function of the binder in the process is temporary. Upon getting the desired shape, the binder is then rescinded. Significant properties of palm oil stearin, such as strength, density and porosity, are comparable to those of thermoplastics; as a plus, it facilitates faster attachment cell growth. An important trait required for binders is differing melting points that allow the binder system to slowly de-bind. Coincidentally, palm stearin contains several kinds of acids with different melting points as well. As such, the implant part will be able to retain its shape smoothly.
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