Multi-Material 3D Printed Stent Automatically Expands and Delivers Drugs

In 2018, we covered a research project where the team developed highly stretchable hydrogel for 3D printing that could be used in all sorts of applications, from bio-scaffolds for manufactured organs to flexible electronics. Now, that same team of researchers (plus some new members) from China, Singapore, and Israel have expanded on their previous work to include multi-material 3D printing of hydrogel and UV curable polymers.

Multi-material printing with hydrogel is possible, but the authors of the paper point out that “the current technologies constrain the geometries of hydrogel-polymer hybrids to laminates consisting of hydrogel with silicone rubbers,” which in turn “greatly limits functionality and performance of hydrogel-polymer-based devices and machines.” In other words, hydrogels can mostly be printed along with flexible silicone in geometries that are generally flat or consisting of few layers. The international team developed a method of printing high-water content acrylamide-PEGDA (AP) hydrogels with various UV curable resins in high-resolution 3D geometries where every material can be in the same layer.