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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • University of Birmingham


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.

Bibliographic 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).


Original languageEnglish
JournalMRS Advances
Early online date22 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2021


  • 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, Polymer