Design of additively manufactured polymer structures using medical applications as an example


Lecture with project part


Motivation and background
Additive manufacturing processes, also known as "3D printing" or "additive manufacturing" (AM), allow the economical production of individualized components with a high degree of design freedom. This makes them particularly important in industries with very low volumes and many prototype investigations, such as medical technology. In orthopedics, for example, it is often helpful to adapt splints or orthoses to individual patients in terms of anatomy and functional requirements. Due to their good processability, adjustable properties and low density, polymer-based materials are increasingly coming into focus. The targeted development of such customized polymer components requires process and materials engineering knowledge and can also be effectively supported by computer-aided CAE methods.
In this course, students learn about the individualized, additive manufacturing of polymer components and apply them independently in a semester-long development project. The course first provides an overview of established AM process technologies and uses the example of extrusion processes to work out the interaction between material, process settings and design. Special requirements of medical technology for component development and material selection are presented in separate lectures. This is followed by an application-oriented introduction to the practical component design of printed polymer structures using the finite element method (FEM). FE-based topology optimization is presented as a particularly suitable idea generator for efficient design solutions. The CAE design methods are specifically deepened in practice in exercises. Equipped with knowledge of processes, materials and methods, students finally solve an individual development project from the field of orthotics in small groups.

  • Overview of additive manufacturing processes(3D printing, additive manufacturing)

  • Interaction process-material-component

  • Polymers in additive manufacturing:
    Material science fundamentals, material and component testing.

  • Special aspects of additive manufacturing in medical technology (external guest contributions)

  • Computer-aided component design and optimization (lectures and exercises)

  • Semester project: Design, manufacture and testing of a component from the field of "medical technology


Lecturer: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Luise Kärger (FAST-LB)





Summer Semester


Lecture & Lecture Hall Exercise:

Tuesdays 15:45 - 17:15

Building 70.04, East Campus, Room 219


Outcome Assessment:

Testate (ungraded)

Final project + oral exam (graded)

Number of participants: Limited (21 students expected).

Registration: Please register using the following link.


The workload for the course is 120 h per semester and consists of attendance in the lectures (21 h), working on exercises and tests at home (60 h) and carrying out a final project (39 h). This results in 2 SWS and 4 LP.