3D-Printed Bioplastics with Shape-Memory Behavior Based on Native Bovine Serum Albumin

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Apr 28;13(16):19193-19199. doi: 10.1021/acsami.0c22377. Epub 2021 Apr 19.


Bio-based plastics that can supplant petroleum-derived materials are necessary to meet the future demands of sustainability in the life cycle of plastic materials. While there are significant efforts to develop protein-based plastic materials for commercial use, their application is limited by poor processability and limitations in mechanical performance. Here, we present a bovine serum albumin (BSA)-based resin for stereolithographic apparatus (SLA) 3D printing that affords bioplastic objects with shape-memory behavior. We demonstrate that the native conformation of these globular proteins is largely retained in the 3D-printed constructs and that each protein molecule possesses a "stored length" that could be revealed during mechanical deformation (extension or compression) of the 3D bioplastic objects. While the plastically deformed objects could retain this state for an indefinite period of time, heating the object or submerging in water allowed it to return to its original 3D-printed shape.

Keywords: 3D printing; bovine serum albumin; proteins; shape-memory; stereolithography.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Compressive Strength
  • Mechanical Phenomena*
  • Mechanical Tests
  • Plastics / chemistry*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / chemistry*
  • Water / chemistry


  • Plastics
  • Water
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine