The orthotropic viscoelastic characterisation of sub-zero 3D-printed poly(vinyl alcohol) cryogel

J. P. Crolla*, M. M. Britton, D. M. Espino, L. E.J. Thomas-Seale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract: Poly(vinyl alcohol) cryogel (PVA) is a versatile biomaterial used to replicate the biomechanics of tissues. Additive manufacture (AM) at sub-zero (°C) temperatures enables the manufacture of PVA with complex geometry; however, the effect of processing parameters on the mechanical properties of PVA has not been evaluated. The aim of this study is to understand the impact of print nozzle diameter and orientation on the viscoelastic mechanical properties of PVA. Samples of sub-zero AM PVA, with different filament thicknesses, were tested under tension relative to the print direction, to calculate the storage and loss moduli. As the nozzle size was decreased, AM PVA exhibited more pronounced orthotropic properties; the smallest size showed a 33% decrease in storage moduli when tested perpendicular to the print direction, as opposed to parallel. This study has demonstrated the ability of sub-zero AM to tailor the orthotropic properties of PVA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-471
Number of pages5
JournalMRS Advances
Issue number18
Early online date22 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council scholarship (EP/N509590/1). The materials and testing equipment used in this study was funded by an Arthritis Research UK Grant (H0671; now part of Versus Arthritis).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Polymer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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