Fibre laser cutting of polycaprolactone sheet for stents manufacturing: a feasibility study

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The role of the stent is temporary and it is limited to the intervention and shortly thereafter. Bioresorbable polymer stents were introduced to overcome this problem, making the stent manufacturing process rather difficult considering the complexity of the material. The stent forecast sale makes constant technology development necessary on this field. The adaptation of the laser manufacturing industry to these new materials is costly, thus further studies employing different sorts of lasers are necessary. This paper aims to explore the feasibility of 1.08 µm wavelength fibre laser to cut polycaprolactone sheet, which is especially interesting for long-term implantable devices, such as stents. The laser cut samples were analysed by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Tensile Stress Test, and Optical Microscopy in order to study the effects of the laser process over the workpiece. The parameters measured were: taper angle, dimensional precision, material structure changes and mechanical properties changes. Results showed a dimensional precision above 95.75% with a taper angle lower than 0.033°. The laser ablation process has exhibited a minor influence upon material properties. Results exhibit the feasibility of fibre laser to cut polycaprolactone, making the fibre laser an alternative to manufacture stents ​
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