Printomics: The high-throughput analysis of printing parameters applied to melt electrowriting

Felix M. Wunner, Pawel Mieszczanek, Onur Bas, Sebastian Eggert, Joachim Maartens, Paul D. Dalton, Elena M. De-Juan-Pardo, Dietmar W. Hutmacher

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Melt electrowriting (MEW) combines the fundamental principles of electrospinning, a fibre forming technology, and 3D printing. The process, however, is highly complex and the quality of the fabricated structures strongly depends on the interplay of key printing parameter settings including processing temperature, applied voltage, collection speed, and applied pressure. These parameters act in unison, comprising the principal forces on the electrified jet: pushing the viscous polymer out of the nozzle and mechanically and electrostatically dragging it for deposition towards the collector. Although previous studies interpreted the underlying mechanism of electrospinning with polymer melts in a direct writing mode, contemporary devices used in laboratory environments lack the capability to collect large data reproducibly. Yet, a validated large data set is a condition sine qua non to design an in-process control system which allows to computer control the complexity of the MEW process. For this reason, we engineered an advanced automated MEW system with monitoring capabilities to specifically generate large, reproducible data volumes which allows the interpretation of complex process parameters. Additionally, the design of an innovative real-time MEW monitoring system identifies the main effects of the system parameters on the geometry of the fibre flight path. This enables, for the first time, the establishment of a comprehensive correlation between the input parameters and the geometry of a MEW jet. The study verifies the most stable process parameters for the highly reproducible fabrication of a medical-grade poly(ϵ-caprolactone) fibres and demonstrates how Printomics can be performed for the high throughput analysis of processing parameters for MEW.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025004
JournalBiofabrication
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Wunner, F. M., Mieszczanek, P., Bas, O., Eggert, S., Maartens, J., Dalton, P. D., ... Hutmacher, D. W. (2019). Printomics: The high-throughput analysis of printing parameters applied to melt electrowriting. Biofabrication, 11(2), [025004]. https://doi.org/10.1088/1758-5090/aafc41