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3D printing with cellulose materials


With the development of cellulose chemistry and processing technology, the applications of cellulose materials were not limited to traditional fields as engineering materials in forest originated products, paper, and textile industries, but also used for advanced functional applications in the field of biomedical and smart health care, printed electronics, and responsive wearable textiles. With the advantage of sophisticated geometry fabrication and low cost production, 3D printing technologies have been employed with many materials for a variety of applications. This critical review focuses specifically on the development and assessment of cellulose materials for 3D printing. A special focus was paid on extrusion based 3D printing. Detailed examinations of cellulose hydrogel rheology, fiber entanglement, fiber alignment, gelation, printability, shape fidelity, cell viability and processing parameters in extrusion based 3D printing are explored. Other 3D printing techniques such as inkjet 3D printing, 3D spinning, stereolithography, laminated object manufacturing and selective laser sintering are also introduced. The functionality of 3D printed constructs was designed either by cellulose surface modification or by incorporation of functional components. The properties and performances of 3D printed cellulose constructs as well as their potential applications in the fields of medical, electronics, and smart textile are discussed. Finally, perspective and current important limitations of 3D printing with cellulose materials for advanced application are provided.

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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31300493), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016T90423, 2015M581740), Young Scholar Award Program of Jiangsu University, and open funding from the State Key Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Engineering, South China University of Technology (201527), Key Laboratory of Biomass Energy and Material of Jiangsu Province, Institute of Chemical Industry of Forest Products, Chinese Academy of Forestry (JSBEM201605) and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institution (PAPD). We thank Rana Muhammad Yousaf Saeed for proofreading.

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Correspondence to Jianzhong Sun.

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Wang, Q., Sun, J., Yao, Q. et al. 3D printing with cellulose materials. Cellulose 25, 4275–4301 (2018).

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  • Additive manufacturing
  • Cellulose materials
  • Rheology
  • Printability
  • Shape fidelity