A Systematic Thermal Analysis for Accurately Predicting the Extrusion Printability of Alginate–Gelatin-Based Hydrogel Bioinks

Qi Li, Bin Zhang, Qian Xue, Chunxiao Zhao, Yichen Luo, Hongzhao Zhou, Liang Ma, Huayong Yang, Dapeng Bai

Article ID: 394
Vol 7, Issue 3, 2021, Article identifier:394

VIEWS - 314 (Abstract) 101 (PDF) 28 (Supp.File)


Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting has significant potential for addressing the global problem of organ shortages. However, extrusion printing is a versatile 3D bioprinting technique, but its low accuracy currently limits the solution. This lack of precision is attributed largely to the complex thermal and dynamic properties of bioinks and makes it difficult to provide accurate estimations of the printed results. It is necessary to understand the relationship between printing temperature and materials’ printability to address this issue. This paper proposes a quantitative thermal model incorporating a system’s printing temperatures (syringe, ambient, and bioink) to facilitate accurate estimations of the printing outcomes. A physical model was established to reveal the relationship between temperature, pressure, and velocity in guiding the printing of sodium alginate–gelatin composite hydrogel (a popular bioink) to optimize its extrusion-based printability. The model considered the phenomenon of bioink die swells after extrusion. A series of extrusion experiments confirmed that the proposed model offers enhanced printing outcome estimations compared with conventional models. Two types of nozzles (32- and 23-gauge) were used to print several sets of lines with a linewidth step of 50 μm by regulating the extrudate’s temperature, pressure, and velocity separately. The study confirmed the potential for establishing a reasonable, accurate open-loop linewidth control based on the proposed optimization method to expand the application of extrusion-based bioprinting further.


3D bioprinting; pneumatic extrusion; thermal effects; temperature control; printability

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/ijb.v7i3.394


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