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A new method of 3D printing hydrogel mixtures could be used to deliver drugs

wallpapers Tech 2021-01-18
At present, hydrogels have been widely used in various applications, such as biomedical equipment and flexible electronics. However, current technology limits the geometry of hydrogel-hybrid polymers to layered materials composed of hydrogel and silicone rubber. This greatly limits the function and performance of hydrogel-based polymer equipment and machinery. An international research team composed of research units such as Southern University of Science and Technology and Zhejiang University in China has developed a simple and versatile multi-material 3D printing method based on DLP to manufacture complex hybrid 3D structures.
 
The hydrogel is a water-containing network polymer, which has been widely used in biomedicine, flexible electronics and other technologies. In many applications, hydrogels are combined with other polymers to form hybrid structures, which are used to protect, enhance, or add new functions to the hydrogel structure. For example, elastic biomedical devices with hydrogel-based hydrophilic and lubricating surface layers, hydrogel-based flexible electronic devices with elastomer anti-dehydration coatings, and hydrogel composite materials reinforced by elastomer fibers. Although recent rapid progress has been made, the polymers that can firmly bond with hydrogels are mainly limited to silicone rubber, and the geometry of the hybrids of hydrogels and polymers is mostly limited to the layered structure, which greatly limits The performance of silicone rubber. Function and performance of equipment and machines based on hydrogel polymers. Therefore, it is desired to develop an effective method to manufacture a hydrogel-polymer-based hybrid structure with high design freedom and abundant material selection.
 
3D printing, which creates complex 3D objects in free form, has been widely used to manufacture 3D hydrogel structures. Among all 3D printing technologies, direct ink writing (DIW) technology has been most widely used for 3D printing hydrogels. Different from DIW-based 3D printing, 3D printing forms a 3D structure by directly squeezing ink, and 3D printing based on digital light processing (DLP) forms a 3D structure through digital ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, triggering local light Polymerization converts liquid polymer resins into solid 3D structures, so it is an ideal technology for manufacturing high-resolution and highly complex 3D structures. However, the ability to use DLP-based 3D printing to produce hybrid structures composed of high stretchability and high water content hydrogels and other UV curable polymers has not yet been realized. This is mainly due to the limited selection of multi-material 3D printing systems based on high-efficiency DLP, and the lack of universal methods to form strong bonds between high-performance hydrogels and various UV-curable polymers.

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