Rheology in Product Development: An Insight into 3D Printing of Hydrogels and Aerogels †

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Rheological characterisation plays a crucial role in developing and optimising advanced materials in the form of hydrogels and aerogels, especially if 3D printing technologies are involved. Applications ranging from tissue engineering to environmental remediation require the fine-tuning of such properties. Nonetheless, their complex rheological behaviour presents unique challenges in additive manufacturing. This review outlines the vital rheological parameters that influence the printability of hydrogel and aerogel inks, emphasising the importance of viscosity, yield stress, and viscoelasticity. Furthermore, the article discusses the latest developments in rheological modifiers and printing techniques that enable precise control over material deposition and resolution in 3D printing. By understanding and manipulating the rheological properties of these materials, researchers can explore new possibilities for applications such as biomedicine or nanotechnology. An optimal 3D printing ink requires strong shear-thinning behaviour for smooth extrusion, forming continuous filaments. Favourable thixotropic properties aid viscosity recovery post-printing, and adequate yield stress and G′ are crucial for structural integrity, preventing deformation or collapse in printed objects, and ensuring high-fidelity preservation of shapes. This insight into rheology provides tools for the future of material design and manufacturing in the rapidly evolving field of 3D printing of hydrogels and aerogels.
Original languageEnglish
Article number986
Number of pages32
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2023


  • 3D printing
  • aerogels
  • hydrogels
  • rheology


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