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The synthesis of a highly conductive, flexible, 3D-printable, and biocompatible ink has been of great interest in the field of bio-based additive manufacturing. Various applications include ultra-sensitive, microscale tactile sensors, patient-customizable scaffolds for cardiac and nerve tissue regeneration, and flexible electrocardiogram (ECG) electrodes. Here, a novel elastomeric carbon nanocomposite is presented consisting of amino-functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNT-NH2) homogenously dispersed in a one-part room-temperature vulcanizing (RTV) silicone matrix. The use of acetone as a swelling solvent aids in electrical percolation through the elastomer matrix. CNT-NH2 ratios can be tuned to fit various needs; higher tensile strength is favored at lower ratios while increased electrical conductivities are observed at greater ratios. Moreover, the fabrication process is facile, inexpensive, and can be conducted at room temperature within the span of minutes, due to the use of acetone as a unique volatile solvent. The resulting ink can be extrusion-printed to yield detailed, flexible, and highly conductive microstructures with resolution up to 250 microns. Future testing of the ink’s biocompatibility is necessary, but its electrical and mechanical properties demonstrate great potential for use in the additive manufacturing of patient-customizable bioelectronics.
CNT, carbon nanotubes, nanocomposites, conductive polymers, bioelectronics, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, sensors, scaffolds, elastomers
Biomaterials | Materials Chemistry | Nanomedicine | Polymer Chemistry
Current Academic Year
Daeha Joung, Ph.D.
© The Author(s)
Shar, A. (2022, May). A highly conductive, flexible, and 3D-printable carbon nanotube-elastomer ink for additive bio-manufacturing [Poster session]. VCU Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity.