Serendipitous discovery of 3D-printable biomimetic polymers

Written by Campbell Brooks

Researchers have announced a new strategy for synthesizing biomimetic polymers that can be extruded through conventional 3D printers, opening up the possibility of patient-specific implants. The technology was developed by Renxuan Xie, Sanjoy Murkherjee and other researchers from Christopher Bates’ and Michael Chabinyc’s labs at the University of California, Santa Barbara (CA, USA), and was presented in Scientific Advances. They synthesized biocompatible ‘bottlebrush’ co-polymers – polymers with long branches extending from the central backbone like a kitchen bottlebrush – of poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(dimethylsiloxane) with unique properties. The polymers undergo thermodynamic self-assembly to form soft, micelle-like spheres with poly(dimethylsiloxane) on...

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