Hydrogels, Applications in fields other than Biomedical

It has been known that hydrogels play a major role in bio printing because of which they have been the focus of almost all the major research projects that have been conducted on bio printing. Currently, a further study on the use of hydrogels in bio printing by researchers from Germany and China which is to add to the findings published in ‘3D printing of hydrogels: Rational design strategies and emerging biomedical applications.’

In this particular research, the scientists are focusing on the current designs and techniques as well as materials and properties that are associated with the use of hydrogels in bio printing. This study also reminds people that 3D printing is perhaps the next global industrial and manufacturing revolution.

It is not just tissue engineering where the applications of bio printing are to be limited. This technology of 3D printing can also be used in areas such as automotive, chemical industry, medical and pharmaceutical, energetics, robotics and several other areas. The opportunities are endless.

“To fully unleash the huge potential of 3D printing, new printable inks made of different materials are needed, and this requires on-demand design and development of the composition, structure, function, and dynamics of the ink materials,” the authors have stated.

As per the use of the hydrogels, there are different kinds of hydrogels. These are listed as follows:

  • Natural polymer hydrogels
  • Polysaccharide hydrogels
  • Polyacrylate hydrogels
  • Nanocomposite hydrogels
  • Composite hydrogels
  • Supramolecular hydrogels
  • Stimuli-responsive hydrogels

“From the standpoint of tissue engineering, establishing a cell microenvironment that can mimic the native ECM is highly desired and meaningful to recapitulate in vivo milieu and replicate cell/tissue functions in vitro,” explained the researchers. “By mimicking ECM, hydrogels are capable of not only supplying structural support for cell residence but also affording various predefined biochemical (cytokines, growth factors, cell adhesion peptides, etc.) and biophysical (structures, stiffness, degradation, etc.) cues for modulating cell fate.”