3D Printed Liquid Crystal Elastomers for Mimicking Complex B
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Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver have developed a method to 3D print liquid crystal elastomers so that they form complex structures with physical properties that match those of complex biological tissues, such as cartilage. The researchers hope that the technique will help with creating patient-specific implants to replace tissues that have been lost because of injury or disease.

At present, generating replacements for diseased or injured tissue is challenging. Tissues have unique properties, such as flexibility and strength, that are difficult to emulate when using synthetic substances. Tissues involved in interfacing surfaces at moving joints, including cartilage, must be extremely hard wearing, but still soft and flexible enough to allow for movement and cushioning.

The Denver researchers have developed a new method to create tissue-like materials that involves 3D printing liquid crystal elastomers. The material has significant shock-absorbing qualities, which makes it highly suited for dynamic joints or protective structures in the body. Certain structures in the body are very complex, such as the components of the spine, which allow for complex movements and are strong and flexible enough to protect delicate neural tissue.

To create structures with high resolution the researchers used a 3D printing technique called digital light processing. With this technique, the 3D printer deposits a honeycomb-like liquid crystal resin, which can be cured using ultraviolet light and built up into lattice structures. The final product mimics the natural structure of cartilage.

Source: https://www.medgadget.com/2020/06/3d-printed-liquid-crystal-elastomers-for-mimicking-complex-biological-tissues.html
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