Comparison of Linear and 4-Arm Star Poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) for Aqueous Binder Jetting Additive Manufacturing of Personalized Dosage Tablets

Emily M. Wilts, Da Ma, Yun Bai, Christopher B. Williams, Timothy E. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Fabrication of personalized dosage oral pharmaceuticals using additive manufacturing (AM) provides patients with customizable, locally manufactured, and cost-efficient tablets, while reducing the probability of side effects. Binder jetting AM has potential for fabrication of customized dosage tablets, but the resulting products lack in strength due to solely relying on the binder to produce structural integrity. The selection of polymeric binders is also limited due to viscosity restraints, which limits molecular weight and concentration. To investigate and ameliorate these limitations, this article reports a comprehensive study of linear and 4-arm star poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) over a range of molecular weights as polymeric binders for binder jetting AM and their effect on physical tablet properties. Formulation of varying molecular weights and concentrations of linear and 4-arm star PVP in deionized water and subsequent jetting revealed relationships between the critical overlap concentrations (C*) and jettability on binder jetting systems with thermal inkjet printheads. After printing with a commercially available ZCorp Spectrum Z510 printer with an HP11 printhead with a lactose and powdered sugar powder bed, subsequent measurement of compressive strength, compressive modulus, and porosity revealed structure-property relationships between molecular weight, polymer concentration, and linear and 4-arm star architectures with physical properties of binder jetted tablets. This study elucidated that the dominating factor to increase compressive strength of a tablet is dependent on the weight percent of the polymer in the binder, which filled interstitial voids between powder particles. Because 4-arm star polymers have lower solution viscosities compared to linear analogues at the same molecular weights, they were jettable at higher concentrations, thus producing the strongest tablets at a compressive strength of 1.2 MPa. Finally, the inclusion of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), acetaminophen, revealed maintenance of the tablet physical properties across 5-50 total wt % API in each tablet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23938-23947
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 10 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Ohnesorge number
  • additive manufacturing
  • binder jetting
  • personalized dosage tablets
  • poly(vinyl pyrrolidone)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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