Hybrid 3D printing and electrodeposition approach for controllable 3D alginate hydrogel formation

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

50 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Wanfeng Shang
  • Chengzhi Hu
  • Zeyang Liu
  • Chin To Wong
  • Toshio Fukuda

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number025032
Journal / PublicationBiofabrication
Issue number2
Online published7 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


Calcium alginate hydrogels are widely used as biocompatible materials in a substantial number of biomedical applications. This paper reports on a hybrid 3D printing and electrodeposition approach for forming 3D calcium alginate hydrogels in a controllable manner. Firstly, a specific 3D hydrogel printing system is developed by integrating a customized ejection syringe with a conventional 3D printer. Then, a mixed solution of sodium alginate and CaCO3 nanoparticles is filled into the syringe and can be continuously ejected out of the syringe nozzle onto a conductive substrate. When applying a DC voltage (~5 V) between the substrate (anode) and the nozzle (cathode), the Ca2+ released from the CaCO3 particles can crosslink the alginate to form calcium alginate hydrogel on the substrate. To elucidate the gel formation mechanism and better control the gel growth, we can further establish and verify a gel growth model by considering several key parameters, i.e., applied voltage and deposition time. The experimental results indicate that the alginate hydrogel of various 3D structures can be formed by controlling the movement of the 3D printer. A cell viability test is conducted and shows that the encapsulated cells in the gel can maintain a high survival rate (~99% right after gel formation). This research establishes a reliable method for the controllable formation of 3D calcium alginate hydrogel, exhibiting great potential for use in basic biology and applied biomedical engineering.

Research Area(s)

  • 3D printing, alginate hydrogel, electrodeposition

Citation Format(s)