A joint collaboration between researchers at Politechnico di Torino, BRIN, Indonesia, University of Cagliari, and the Italian Institute of Technology has led to launch of a new composite hydrogel inks derived from environment friendly and natural materials, which could find use for 3D printing of objects.
The hydrogels described in a paper published in Sustainable Materials and Technologies is based on acrylated- carboxymethyl cellulose.
Meanwhile, since 2015, researchers have been working on the development of new printable materials and functional devices. Therefore, different areas were explored in these years resulting in many publications in the field of 3D printing, stated of the researchers behind the study.
In fact, the first objective of work of the team of researchers is to create polymeric hydrogels for use in 3D printing derived from natural resources to elevate sustainability and reduce dependency on standard synthetic resins. In the recent period, the team of researchers have been collaborating with a researcher at Research Center for Environment and Clean Technology, BRIN, Indonesia.
The researcher is an expert in the processing of waste to obtain new cellulosic materials. Thus, the work surfaced almost spontaneously, with the help of cellulosic raw matter of different sources to develop new waterborne resins.
Importantly, the study is only a step in the direction of larger goal of sustainability of 3D printable materials.
Natural hydrogel feature truly remarkable properties, which includes high biocompatibility, biodegradability and low level of toxicity. At present, 3D printing processes depend heavily on synthetic materials that are not biodegradable with fossil fuel-based resins for feedstock.
This is mainly because several existing hydrogels have extremely poor mechanical properties, which makes it difficult to use them for light-generated 3D printing.