Additive Manufacturing of Porous Biominerals

Ran Zhao, Nina Kølln Wittig, Gaia De Angelis, Tianyu Yuan, Matteo Hirsch, Henrik Birkedal*, Esther Amstad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Nature fabricates hard functional materials from soft organic scaffolds that are mineralized. To enable an energy-efficient locomotion of these creatures while maintaining their structural stability, nature often renders parts of these minerals porous. Unfortunately, methods to produce synthetic minerals with a similar degree of control over their multi length scale porous structure remain elusive. This level of control, however, would be required to design lightweight yet robust biominerals. Here, a room temperature process is presented that combines a localized mineralization with emulsion-based 3D printing to form cm sized biominerals possessing pores whose diameters range from the 100 s of nm up to the mm length scale. The samples encompass up to 80 wt% of CaCO3 and display a specific compressive strength that is significantly higher than that of previously reported 3D printed porous biominerals and close to those of trabecular bones. The universality of this approach by forming different types of bioactive minerals, including calcite, aragonite, and brushite is demonstrated. The ability to 3D print these materials under benign conditions renders this energy-efficient process well-suited to construct cm-sized lightweight yet load-bearing structures that might find applications, for example, in the design of the next generation of flying or motile objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300950
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • 3D printing
  • CaCO
  • emulsion templating
  • porous biominerals


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