Production of hydrophilised, melt electrowritten fibres to fabricate biphasic constructs in combination with hydrogels
Supervisors: Sonja Kuth, Prof. Aldo R. Boccaccini
Hydrogels can be used to form tissue-like structures by mimicking the extra cellular matrix (ECM) through a polymer network. Besides their tuneable mechanical properties, they are non-toxic, biodegradable, highly functionalizable by the incorporation of signal molecules and they are also 3D printable with various bioprinting techniques [1,2]. By combining hydrogels with structures made of biocompatible thermoplastic polymers it is possible to improve the mechanical properties of the bioprinted construct above the possible properties of hydrogels . While bioprinted meshes, made from thermoplastics, already reinforce a tissue construct, melt electrowriting (MEW) provides an increased homogeneity in organisation while the cell mobility within the incorporated hydrogel is also increased . By combining bioprinting of hydrogels and MEW of thermoplastics it is possible to fabricate an advanced biphasic construct with increased stiffness and stability . The aim of this thesis is to improve the incorporation of melt electrowritten fibres into a 3D printed hydrogel construct by altering the hydrophobicity of the thermoplastic polymer to influence the wettability of the mesh like reinforcement structure and ensure a stable bond between the two phases.
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