Vat photopolymerization 3D printing of acid-cleavable PEG-methacrylate networks for biomaterial applications

Donald C. Aduba, Evan D. Margaretta, Alexandra E.C. Marnot, Katherine V. Heifferon, Wyatt R. Surbey, Nicholas A. Chartrain, Abby R. Whittington, Timothy E. Long, Christopher B. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Additive manufacturing (AM) is an emerging processing platform in clinical applications because of its ability to fabricate customized 3D structures for patient-specific needs. Vat photopolymerization additive manufacturing creates high-resolution, complex structures with excellent accuracy to fulfill these demands. However, materials selection for vat photopolymerization is limited. Many materials lack the biocompatibility and stimuli-responsive properties for biomaterial function in physiological environments. In this work, a vat photopolymerization AM process photocured acid-labile crosslinker within a methacrylate terminated poly(ethylene glycol) polymer network to yield biocompatible 3D structures with diverse architectures. At physiological temperature (37 °C), photocrosslinked networks exhibited thermal stability and tunable water sorption with respect to crosslinker amount. Crosslinker amount and geometry were varied to control dissolution in aqueous physiological environments. Acid-cleavable crosslinker amount increased dissolution in acidic (pH ˜1) environments. In neutral (pH ˜7) environments, acid-cleavable crosslinker amount did not increase dissolution to the same extent. Geometry, specifically cube and lattice structures exhibited differences in dissolution due to surface area driven diffusion. Structural by-products after dissolution demonstrated good in vitro cytocompatibility after 72-hours in culture. This class of 3D-printed biomaterials offer potential for drug delivery, tissue engineering scaffolds and wound dressing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-211
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials Today Communications
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printing
  • Acid-cleavable polymers
  • Biocompatibility
  • Personalized medicine
  • Stereolithography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Chemistry


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