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3D Printing Cellulose Hydrogels Using LASER Induced Thermal Gelation

1
School of Product Design, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, 8140 Christchurch, New Zealand
2
Biomolecular Interaction Centre, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, 8140 Christchurch, New Zealand
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, 8140 Christchurch, New Zealand
4
Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, 8140 Christchurch, New Zealand
5
Department of Physics, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, 8140 Christchurch, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Syft Technologies, 3 Craft Pl, Middleton, 8024 Christchurch, New Zealand
Current address: Institute for Bioengineering, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, EH9 3JL Edinburgh, UK
J. Manuf. Mater. Process. 2018, 2(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmmp2030042
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 25 June 2018 / Accepted: 29 June 2018 / Published: 2 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additive Manufacturing)
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Abstract

A 3D printer was developed for the 3D printing of cellulose hydrogels using open source software and simple 3D printer hardware. Using a temperature-based sol-gel transition of cellulose dissolved in aqueous solutions of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and urea, a three-dimensional gel can be created by moving a focused laser beam across a bath of the cellulose solution and lowering the print stage after every layer. A line width of 100–150 µm and layer thickness of 25 µm of the printed part could be achieved. No delamination between printed layers occurred and no additional support material was needed to create free hanging structures due to suspending the printed part in printing liquid. By adding cellulose powder to the solution, the gelation temperature, the gel strength and stiffness can be manipulated while maintaining a high internal porosity of the gel. A laser power of 100 mW was found to produce the highest quality print with an accurate representation of the previously designed part. Lower power settings (80 mW) produced insufficient gelation and as a result reduced print accuracy while higher power settings (120 mW) caused the gel to burn. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D printing; cellulose; hydrogel; laser 3D printing; cellulose; hydrogel; laser
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Huber, T.; Clucas, D.; Vilmay, M.; Pupkes, B.; Stuart, J.; Dimartino, S.; Fee, C. 3D Printing Cellulose Hydrogels Using LASER Induced Thermal Gelation. J. Manuf. Mater. Process. 2018, 2, 42.

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