Polymer Chemistry

Cross-linkable multi-stimuli responsive hydrogel inks for direct-write 3D printing

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Triple stimuli-responsive ABA triblock copolymer hydrogels composed of poly(allyl glycidyl ether)-stat-poly(alkyl glycidyl ether)-block-poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(allyl glycidyl ether)-stat-poly(alkyl glycidyl ether) were synthesized using controlled ring-opening polymerization of glycidyl ethers. These polymers form triple stimuli-responsive hydrogels that respond to temperature, pressure (shear-thinning), and UV light. The stimuli-responsive behaviors of the gels were dependent upon the composition and the molecular weight of the 'A' blocks of the triblock copolymers. The hydrogels were analyzed rheometrically to characterize their stimuli-responsive properties. The optimized compositions were 3D printed using a direct-write 3D printer to afford robust 3D objects. We anticipate these materials creating new opportunities in the biomedical and biotechnological fields, by enabling the simple and rapid fabrication of 3D hydrogels.