Three-dimensional printing fiber reinforced hydrogel composites

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Sep 24;6(18):15998-6006. doi: 10.1021/am503878d. Epub 2014 Sep 8.


An additive manufacturing process that combines digital modeling and 3D printing was used to prepare fiber reinforced hydrogels in a single-step process. The composite materials were fabricated by selectively pattering a combination of alginate/acrylamide gel precursor solution and an epoxy based UV-curable adhesive (Emax 904 Gel-SC) with an extrusion printer. UV irradiation was used to cure the two inks into a single composite material. Spatial control of fiber distribution within the digital models allowed for the fabrication of a series of materials with a spectrum of swelling behavior and mechanical properties with physical characteristics ranging from soft and wet to hard and dry. A comparison with the "rule of mixtures" was used to show that the swollen composite materials adhere to standard composite theory. A prototype meniscus cartilage was prepared to illustrate the potential application in bioengineering.

Keywords: 3D printing; alginate/polyacrylamide hydrogel; artificial meniscus; composite hydrogel; rule of mixtures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins / chemistry*
  • Alginates / chemistry*
  • Bioprinting / methods*
  • Glucuronic Acid / chemistry
  • Hexuronic Acids / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Menisci, Tibial / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Tissue Engineering


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Alginates
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Hydrogels
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • polyacrylamide