Xuanhe Zhao and the 3D printing of robust hydrogels
When it comes to synthetic hydrogels, finding the perfect mixture of toughness and ease of fabrication has been elusive. In a paper by CEE Professor Xuanhe Zhao and published on the cover of Advanced Materials, the world’s first robust hydrogel system, tougher than articular cartilage yet capable of encapsulating cells with high viability and being printed into various functional 3D structures, was presented. Although 3D printers have already been used to print hydrogels, those gels have not been ideal, said Zhao. While progress has been made in designing raw materials that have such tough characteristics, crafting them into useable and functional microstructures has proven a challenge. Further tests and tweaks may be needed to see if this tough gel can also play host to actual tissue engineering in a dynamic environment. For the article, please see here.