Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Min Zou

Committee Member

Jingyi Chen

Second Committee Member

Steve Tung


3D printing, Biomedical materials, Tribology


3D printing was used to fabricate porous artificial knee meniscus material from biocompatible polymeric blends of polycarbonate-urethane (PCU) and ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) to enable “weep” lubrication that mimics the native meniscus. 3D printed and molded pure PCU, as well as molded PCU and UHMWPE, were used for comparison. Preliminary printing was done to evaluate the impact of process parameters on the results. The samples were subject to a variety of rotational oscillating friction and wear tests under simulated body fluid and loading conditions to replicate the natural motion of the knee. Results show that 3D printed PCU samples yielded a 27% wear depth reduction compared to molded PCU samples, which may be attributed to their porous structure and flexibility. The cross-sectional area of the 3D printed blend and pure PCU samples showed 13.61% and 6.34% porosity, respectively, while no porosity was observed on the molded PCU and UHMWPE samples. The porosity of 3D printed PCU samples enabled them to absorb 46% more fluid than its molded version. These findings support 3D printing method as a good alternative to fabricate highly porous, customizable PCU implants that mimic the lubrication mechanisms of the native meniscus.