3-D printing of chitosan-calcium phosphate inks: rheology, interactions and characterization

  • Silvia Stella Ramirez Caballero
  • Eduardo Saiz
  • Alexandra MontembaultEmail author
  • Solène Tadier
  • Eric Maire
  • Laurent David
  • Thierry Delair
  • Laurent GrémillardEmail author
Biomaterials Synthesis and Characterization Original Research
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biomaterials Synthesis and Characterization


Bone substitute fabrication is of interest to meet the worldwide incidence of bone disorders. Physical chitosan hydrogels with intertwined apatite particles were chosen to meet the bio-physical and mechanical properties required by a potential bone substitute. A set up for 3-D printing by robocasting was found adequate to fabricate scaffolds. Inks consisted of suspensions of calcium phosphate particles in chitosan acidic aqueous solution. The inks are shear-thinning and consist of a suspension of dispersed platelet aggregates of dicalcium phosphate dihydrate in a continuous chitosan phase. The rheological properties of the inks were studied, including their shear-thinning characteristics and yield stress. Scaffolds were printed in basic water/ethanol baths to induce transformation of chitosan-calcium phosphates suspension into physical hydrogel of chitosan mineralized with apatite. Scaffolds consisted of a chitosan polymeric matrix intertwined with poorly crystalline apatite particles. Results indicate that ink rheological properties could be tuned by controlling ink composition: in particular, more printable inks are obtained with higher chitosan concentration (0.19 mol·L−1).



The authors are grateful to the JECS Trust for funding (Contract No. 2015101). This work was also supported by the LABEX iMUST (ANR-10-LABX-0064) of Université de Lyon, within the program “Investissements d’Avenir” (ANR-11-IDEX-0007) operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR). The authors also are grateful to the staff in the Centre of Advanced Structural Ceramics at Imperial College London for the collaboration work. Special thanks to Ezra Feilden and Esther García-Tuñon Blanca for the Robocasting machine training.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Univ Lyon, INSA LyonMATEIS UMR CNRS 5510, Bât. Blaise PascalVilleurbanneFrance
  2. 2.Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1Ingénierie des Matériaux Polymères, IMP@Lyon1VilleurbanneFrance
  3. 3.Centre of Advanced Structural Ceramics, Department of MaterialsImperial College LondonLondonUK

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