Emulsion Inks for 3D Printing of High Porosity Materials

Nicholas A. Sears, Prachi S. Dhavalikar, Elizabeth M. Cosgriff-Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Photocurable emulsion inks for use with solid freeform fabrication (SFF) to generate constructs with hierarchical porosity are presented. A high internal phase emulsion (HIPE) templating technique was utilized to prepare water-in-oil emulsions from a hydrophobic photopolymer, surfactant, and water. These HIPEs displayed strong shear thinning behavior that permitted layer-by-layer deposition into complex shapes and adequately high viscosity at low shear for shape retention after extrusion. Each layer was actively polymerized with an ultraviolet cure-on-dispense (CoD) technique and compositions with sufficient viscosity were able to produce tall, complex scaffolds with an internal lattice structure and microscale porosity. Evaluation of the rheological and cure properties indicated that the viscosity and cure rate both played an important role in print fidelity. These 3D printed polyHIPE constructs benefit from the tunable pore structure of emulsion templated material and the designed architecture of 3D printing. As such, these emulsion inks can be used to create ultra high porosity constructs with complex geometries and internal lattice structures not possible with traditional manufacturing techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1374
Number of pages6
JournalMacromolecular rapid communications
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • 3D printing
  • HIPE
  • additive manufacturing
  • emulsion templating
  • porous materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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