3D Bioprinting

Applications / 3D Bioprinting

3D bioprinted scaffolds

3D bioprinting techniques offer the advantage of precisely controlling the microstructure of scaffolds used in tissue engineering and drug delivery. In biofabrication, they typically consist on printing bioinks (composed of natural or synthetic polymers) with cells to produce geometrically controlled engineered tissues.

The viscoelastic properties of the bioink often needs to be adjusted to ensure a good printability, shape fidelity and cell-friendly mechanical environment. Once printed, the final strength of the construct has to resemble the one of the specific application. Due to their soft nature and their geometrical complexity, mechanical characterization of such constructs is often challenging with conventional testing technologies.

3D bioprinting techniques offer the advantage of precisely controlling the microstructure of scaffolds used in tissue engineering and drug delivery. In biofabrication, they typically consist on printing bioinks (composed of natural or synthetic polymers) with cells to produce geometrically controlled engineered tissues.

The viscoelastic properties of the bioink often needs to be adjusted to ensure a good printability, shape fidelity and cell-friendly mechanical environment. Once printed, the final strength of the construct has to resemble the one of the specific application. Due to their soft nature and their geometrical complexity, mechanical characterization of such constructs is often challenging with conventional testing technologies.

We have designed the ElastoSens™ Bio to test the viscoelasticity of both bioinks and 3D bioprinted constructs. Bioinks can be poured directly in the sample holder and tested during gelation and crosslinking under controlled temperature and UV light conditions. Scaffolds can either be introduced or directly printed inside the sample holder to be tested on the ElastoSens™ Bio. The instrument applies gentle vibrations to the sample and measures with no contact its response to the mechanical stimulus. Real time changes in the storage (G’) and loss (G’’) shear modulus of either the bioink or scaffold are measured and displayed.

In this example, 3D scaffolds composed of PEGDA/Laponite gels were bioprinted with different porosities by changing the diameter of the filaments (500 μm, 700 μm and 900 μm) while the spacing was maintained equal. The shear storage modulus (G’) of the scaffolds was obtained using the ElastoSens™ Bio. It clearly appears in the graph that reducing the porosity results in the increase of the overall scaffold elasticity.

3D Bioprinting Results
3D Bioprinting directly into sample holder
The precise evaluation of hydrogels viscoelasticity can accelerate their formulation and the optimization of their functionality. Combined with the power of Soft Matter Analytics™, the ElastoSens™ Bio offers an unprecedented development and control platform for scientists and engineers creating hydrogel-based biosystems or devices.

     
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