The current inks developed for 3D printing such as the ones made of silicones, collagen and gelatin or alginate are limited with temperatures, pH changes and crosslinking methods that may be required to toughen some of these materials can damage cells. There is a need for improved ink for 3D printing.
Scientists from Tufts University Science and Technology, developed a silk-based ink which was clear, flexible, stable in water, and didn’t require high temperature processing methods. The researchers say the novel ink material could potentially be used in biomedical implants and tissue engineering.
Silk-based bioinks were developed for 2D and 3D printing. By incorporating nontoxic polyols into silk solutions, two-part formulations with self-curing features at room temperature were generated. By varying the formulations the crystallinity of the silk polymer matrix could be controlled to support printing in 2D and 3D formats interfaced with CAD geometry and with good feature resolution. The self-curing phenomenon was tuned and exploited in order to demonstrate the formation of both structural and support materials. Biocompatible aqueous protein inks for printing that avoid the need for chemical or photo initiators and that form aqueous-stable structures with good resolution at ambient temperatures provide useful options for biofunctionalization and a broad range of applications.Go To ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering