3D-printing of biomaterials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


Biomaterials, including keratins and silks, represent one of the holy grails of materials in terms of properties (biocompatibility, biodegradability, strength and other species-unique characteristics), yet their use in manufacture process has to date been limited. The reason is that the ability to process many biopolymeric materials for modern manufacture processes (such as 3D printing and biocomposite production) is reliant on being able to solubilise such polymers for processing. Recently, this solubilisation limitation has been overcome by the use of ionic liquids for this process, and this project will progress to investigate a selection of biopolymers with diverse physical properties for application in the 3D-printing process. The 3-D printability of biopolymers (keratin/cellulose) has recently been demonstrated in a process that should be compatible with many more interesting materials such as silks. Beyond a demonstration of silk 3-D printing, this project will seek to rationally expand both: the selection of inks used for this process to improve their biocompatibility, sustainable production and regeneration capacity; and the different types of silks and biomass available to overall create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manufacturing approach.


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publication icon
Schindl A (2019) Proteins in Ionic Liquids: Reactions, Applications, and Futures. in Frontiers in chemistry

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M008770/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1944660 Studentship BB/M008770/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Matthew Lawrence Hagen