3D printing of thermo-responsive hydrogels

silvia farè

by Silvia Faré, Associate Professor, Politecnico di Milano – Dept Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering

Smart hydrogels reversibly change their properties when exposed to an external driven force as pH or temperature variation (1). Methylcellulose (MC) is a polysaccharide derived from cellulose and when dissolved in aqueous solvents it forms reverse thermo-responsive smart hydrogels that undergo a sol-gel transition when heated (2).

At the same time, another smart material is represented by gelatin that needs to be crosslinked for biomedical applications. Crosslinked gelatin bulk scaffolds, 3D printed structures and microspheres can be obtained by tuning its crosslinking kinetic, innovatively without the need of post-curing or external treatments to stabilize the crosslinked printed hydrogel structure (3).

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Researchers Develop 3D Printing in Gel Technique that Can Be Used in Tissue Engineering (Video)

To improve 3D printing, simply add gel. A fresh technique uses one to support complex shapes that would fall apart under their own weight in normal 3D printing.

This new-found combination of strength and delicacy will be crucial if we’re ever to print the biological structures that make up organs, blood vessels and other tissue.

The gel, which has the consistency of hand sanitiser, is made of an acrylic acid polymer. It works like a scaffold, allowing the printing of intricate patterns that would collapse without its support – such as nested Russian-doll-like structures and thin, complex branching networks. Continue reading “Researchers Develop 3D Printing in Gel Technique that Can Be Used in Tissue Engineering (Video)”