Rheological characterization and comparison of printing hydrogel-based composite inks for extrusion-based 3D printing

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ICE Krakow

ICE Krakow

ul. Marii Konopnickiej 17 30-302 Kraków


Woźniak, Anna ( Łukasiewicz Research Network- Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials, Ceramics and Concrete Division in Warsaw, Biomaterials Research Group)


3D printing, or spatial printing, is a modern, low-cost alternative to earlier manufacturing technologies. It involves printing layer upon layer of an object designed in an appropriate digital file. As inks in 3D printers are used various filaments, most often polymeric, in solid form, which are melted in the printer head. However, the medical industry is increasingly using hydrogels as inks for 3D printers. Such inks, depending on the application, should exhibit appropriate properties, such as viscosity or pH [1]. 3D printed models based on hydrogels are used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (e.g. as scaffolds that support healing). One of the biggest problems with 3D hydrogel printing is creating the right kind of gel that will create the right environment for cell growth, while having the right physicochemical properties to accurately reproduce the 3D model of the tissue [2,3]. Due to the requirements that must be fulfilled by the hydrogel-based ink, new and improved biomaterials are constantly being sought to provide the possibility of obtaining the expected models with specific applications.
The aim of this study was to select hydrogel composite materials suitable for 3D printing by extrusion. The composite mass consisted of a natural polymer based hydrogel enriched with osteogenic particles. Studies included rheological characterization, pH testing, and printability testing of the hydrogel inks.
This work was funded by the current activities (subvention) of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the year 2022.
[1] Malda J, Visser J, Melchels FP, Jüngst T, Hennink WE, Dhert WJA, et al. 25th anniversary article: Engineering hydrogels for biofabrication. Adv Mater 2013;25:5011–28. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201302042.
[2] Schwab A, Levato R, D’Este M, Piluso S, Eglin D, Malda J. Printability and Shape Fidelity of Bioinks in 3D Bioprinting. Chem Rev 2020;120:11028–55. DOI: 10.1021/ACS.CHEMREV.0C00084/ASSET/IMAGES/ACS.CHEMREV.0C00084.SOCIAL.JPEG_V03.
[3] Lopez Hernandez H, Souza JW, Appel EA, Lopez Hernandez H, Souza JW, Appel EA. A Quantitative Description for Designing the Extrudability of Shear-Thinning Physical Hydrogels. Macromol Biosci 2021;21:2000295. DOI: 10.1002/MABI.202000295.

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