3D printing of double-network hydrogels

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In the project, we modified our 3D printer for printing hydrogel. The crosslinking of AAm and MBAA is soft and ductile which is suitable for artificial cartilage. Computer-aided design software was applied to geometry modeling. Compared to traditional sol-gel closed molding method, 3D printing is speedy, controllable and economical. 3D printing is more efficient in sol-gel phase transition. Tensile strength results shows that the samples manufactured by closed molding method and 3D printing method are satisfied. In order to improve the precision, sodium alginate was added to tune its rheological properties. Further more, the existence of alginate increases the strength and toughness but decrease the swelling rate, for the long chain polymer alginate tightens the structure. When treated with CaCl2, the ionic crosslingking further enhance the strength and toughness due to the increasing of crosslinking density. In general, 3D printing hydrogel is successful and this new method can be developed to tissue engineering.

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3D printing, Hydrogels