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PhD project title

Ion beam modification of surface properties of additive manufacturing components for biomedical applications.

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions (300 words max)

Materials that are biocompatible are called biomaterials. Biocompatibility describes the capability of a material to perform in a specific application with an appropriate host response, (1) This definition was extended (2) and distinguishes between surface and structural compatibility of an implant. Surface compatibility is the aptness of the implant surface to the patient tissue, chemically, biologically, and physically (together with surface morphology). Structural compatibility is the optimal adaption to the mechanical behaviour of the host tissues. Optimal interaction is achieved, once the surface and structural compatibilities are satisfied between the implanted biomaterial and the patient tissues.

The project ‘s first objective is to investigate the AM microstructure evolution and its impact on the biocompatibility. FDM (Fusion Deposition modelling) and SLM (Selective Laser Melting) are two standard AM techniques for biomedical applications. Each manufacturing technique leads to a different microstructure near the part surface, which will affect the part biocompatibility. Ion beam offer unique possibilities for the modification of polymers. The underlying mechanisms and changes in the physical and chemical properties of developed composites will be systematically studied by controlling critical parameters as ion energy, ion flounces, ion species and polymer structure. The project ‘s second objective is to investigate the impact of ion-beam implementation on the AM surface microstructure and its biocompatibility. The PhD project is a numerical/experimental program. The numerical simulation of the AM microstructure evolution is based on the phase-field and finite element methods. The experimental studies will be conducted at QUB labs.

The project is interdisciplinary that involve a combination of different academic fields (bioengineering, manufacturing engineering, material engineering, physics, chemistry).

Surginovi will host the successful PhD Candidate will be able to complete a 1-3 week placement at the company branch in Egypt.

Key words/descriptors



Bioengineering – finite element – additive manufacturing – microstructure evolution – phase field – ion beam

Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

  • Information Technology,
  • Advanced Manufacturing,
  • Life Sciences
  • Creative Industries.

Supervisor Information



First Supervisor:     Dr Gasser Abdelal                                                                

School:                     Mechanical and Aerospace

Second Supervisor:    Dr Thomas Field                                                                  

School: Mathematics and Physics

Third Supervisor  :    Mr Ahmed Moghny                                        


What costs are associated with the project and how will they be funded?

Dr Abdelal will cover the manufacturing and experimental characterization lab costs from one of his project’s accounts.

Name of non-HEI partner(s)

SurgiNovi – Egypt

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:



SurgiNovi has a 3D printing lab and works with a number of national additive manufacturing institutes for the production of new designs and materials of custom-made PST. SurgiNovi has a team of developers and engineers that develop software specialized in orthopaedic surgical planning. SurgiNovi’s collaboration with IGNITES will hold great value for the healthcare sector as both entities can contribute to the fabrication of biomedical products using additive manufacturing. SurgiNovi’s products are patient specific and will need sufficient bio-physical testing to ensure optimal interaction with human tissues. SurgiNovi is currently working in R&D projects related to patient-specific orthopaedic implants and will be happy to do biomechanical experiments and testing the mechanical behaviour of the host tissues in vitro and in vivo.

It is envisaged that SurgiNovi will support with the Doctoral Programme in the following ways:

  • provide adequate supervision, mentoring, training, career development opportunities, training in transferable skills;
  • appoint an evaluator for the thesis committee, as external co-supervisor
  • offer the researcher(s) the possibility to develop collaborations with the non-academic sector by hosting them for determined periods of time during the project
  • provide specific training sessions at Queen’s University Belfast as part of the development of the project
  • offer the researcher(s) the possibility to enrol in one of the training courses that we offer to our researchers, as agreed
  • expose to business development, develop industrial skills and understand product criteria and return on investment

SurgiNovi will follow up with the research activities undertaken by the researcher during his time at QUB and will reduce the cost of production, improve quality and increase confidence in the product line.




Research centre / School

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Subject area

biomedical engineering