3D Printing of Polymers

3D printing (3DP) has rapidly become a viable manufacturing method in its own right due to the advantages offered compared with traditional machining, casting, foaming, forming, etc.; however, 3DP has been limited in many fields by the lack of suitable materials. There is a need for new photopolymer formulations that are compatible with the rapid manufacturing needs within the 3DP community while also being able to serve the biomedical community’s needs, including robust mechanical properties and minimally invasive final prototype designs, including shape memory features. Ring opening copolymerization (ROCOP), most commonly represented by the copolymerization of a cyclic anhydride and an epoxide monomer, ideally yielding a perfecting alternating copolymer polyester. Such materials have been presented as possessing interesting elastomeric behaviors with select formations, as well as shape memory behaviors under certain conditions, the ability for orthogonal functionalization, and the utilization of thiol-ene type reactions to introduce varied pendant groups.  

Polymeric Biomaterials and Their Performances

Using a combination of natural and synthetic materials, polymeric biomaterials are investigated for developing novel tissue scaffolds and medical devices, specifically focusing on orthopedic and cardiovascular applications. By combining polymer synthesis techniques with manufacturing techniques, complex 3D scaffolds can be produced. The lab examines how different polymers are compatible with different additive manufacturing methods including 3D printing and electrospinning. 

Shape Memory and 4D Polymers

Shape memory polymers are capable of changing their shape or otherwise responding to stimulation as a means of controlling behavior over time. These 4D materials, named as such because the designed can exert control over their behavior in three dimensions as well as over time, offer numerous opportunities in medicine including development of minimally invasive devices and pro-drug or otherwise responsive tissue scaffolds.