Introduction of a Novel Technique in Density-Adjusted 3D Printing for the Manufacture of Soft-Tissue-Equivalent Radiological Phantoms

Özsoykal İ., Yurt A.

APPLIED SCIENCES, vol.14, no.2, pp.2-17, 2024 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/app14020509
  • Journal Name: APPLIED SCIENCES
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aerospace Database, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Communication Abstracts, INSPEC, Metadex, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.2-17
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this study is to introduce a new filament and novel 3D printing technique to

adjust the density of a printing job in order to mimic the radiological properties of different tissues. We

used a special filament, LightWeight PLA (LW-PLA), which utilizes foaming technology triggered by

temperature. Cylindrical samples were printed at various temperatures, flow rates, print speeds, and

diameters. A computed tomography (CT) scan was performed to identify their radiological properties

in terms of the mean Hounsfield Unit (HU). The densities of the samples ranged from 0.36 g/cm3

to 1.21 g/cm3, corresponding to mean HU values between −702.7 ± 13.9 HU and +141.4 ± 7.1 HU.

Strong linear correlations were observed between the flow rate and density as well as the flow rate

and mean HU. The axial homogeneity of the samples was reported as being comparable to that of

distilled water. A reduction in the mean HU was observed at a lower print speed and it changed

slightly with respect to the sample size. Reproducibility assessments confirmed consistent results for

identical printing jobs. Comparisons with regular PLA samples revealed a superior homogeneity

in the LW-PLA samples. The findings of this study suggest a practical and accessible solution for

mimicking all of the soft tissues, including the lungs, by using a single filament.