Publication Details

Bakarich, S. E., Gorkin, III, R., in het Panhuis, M. & Spinks, G. M. (2014). Three-dimensional printing fiber reinforced hydrogel composites. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 6 (18), 15998-16006.


An additive manufacturing process that combines digital modeling and 3D printing was used to prepare fiber reinforced hydrogels in a single-step process. The composite materials were fabricated by selectively pattering a combination of alginate/acrylamide gel precursor solution and an epoxy based UV-curable adhesive (Emax 904 Gel-SC) with an extrusion printer. UV irradiation was used to cure the two inks into a single composite material. Spatial control of fiber distribution within the digital models allowed for the fabrication of a series of materials with a spectrum of swelling behavior and mechanical properties with physical characteristics ranging from soft and wet to hard and dry. A comparison with the "rule of mixtures" was used to show that the swollen composite materials adhere to standard composite theory. A prototype meniscus cartilage was prepared to illustrate the potential application in bioengineering.

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