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Empa researcher 3D prints ear out of cellulose

Empa researcher 3D prints ear out of cellulose

Written by David

January 22, 2019

A researcher at Empa has 3D printed an ear using the polymer that gives plants their structural support: cellulose. Empa (Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt) is the German acronym for the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. We’ve previously reported on 3D printing biomedical devices with cellulose , and Erma scientist Michael Hausmann continues that research with the cellulose ear. Hausmann explained the printing process, “In viscous state, cellulose nanocrystals can easily be shaped together with other biopolymers into complex 3-dimensional structures using a 3D printer, such as the Bioplotter.” Currently, the ear is comprised only of the cellulose and binding biopolymers, but in the future, the hydrogel will include therapeutic and/or human cells. The biopolymers will degrade over time while the human cells grow throughout the cellulose scaffold; cellulose won’t degrade but is biocompatible, with similar flexibility as cartilage. Erma researchers are now working to integrate chondrocytes […]

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