3D Printing Polymers with Supramolecular Functionality for Biological Applications

Allison M. Pekkanen, Ryan J. Mondschein, Christopher B. Williams, Timothy Edward Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Supramolecular chemistry continues to experience widespread growth, as fine-tuned chemical structures lead to well-defined bulk materials. Previous literature described the roles of hydrogen bonding, ionic aggregation, guest/host interactions, and Π-Π stacking to tune mechanical, viscoelastic, and processing performance. The versatility of reversible interactions enables the more facile manufacturing of molded parts with tailored hierarchical structures such as tissue engineered scaffolds for biological applications. Recently, supramolecular polymers and additive manufacturing processes merged to provide parts with control of the molecular, macromolecular, and feature length scales. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, generates customizable constructs desirable for many applications, and the introduction of supramolecular interactions will potentially increase production speed, offer a tunable surface structure for controlling cell/scaffold interactions, and impart desired mechanical properties through reinforcing interlayer adhesion and introducing gradients or self-assembled structures. This review details the synthesis and characterization of supramolecular polymers suitable for additive manufacture and biomedical applications as well as the use of supramolecular polymers in additive manufacturing for drug delivery and complex tissue scaffold formation. The effect of supramolecular assembly and its dynamic behavior offers potential for controlling the anisotropy of the printed objects with exquisite geometrical control. The potential for supramolecular polymers to generate well-defined parts, hierarchical structures, and scaffolds with gradient properties/tuned surfaces provides an avenue for developing next-generation biomedical devices and tissue scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2669-2687
Number of pages19
JournalBiomacromolecules
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 11
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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