Study of droplet formation process during drop-on-demand inkjetting of living cell-laden bioink

Changxue Xu, Meng Zhang, Yong Huang, Amod Ogale, Jianzhong Fu, Roger R. Markwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Biofabrication offers a great potential for the fabrication of three-dimensional living tissues and organs by precisely layer-by-layer placing various tissue spheroids as anatomically designed. Inkjet printing of living cell-laden bioink is one of the most promising technologies enabling biofabrication, and the bioink printability must be carefully examined for it to be a viable biofabrication technology. In this study, the cell-laden bioink droplet formation process has been studied in terms of the breakup time, droplet size and velocity, and satellite formation using a time-resolved imaging approach. The bioink has been prepared using fibroblasts and sodium alginate with four different cell concentrations: without cells, 1 × 10 6, 5 × 106, and 1 × 107 cells/mL to appreciate the effect of cell concentration on the droplet formation process. Furthermore, the bioink droplet formation process is compared with that during the inkjetting of a comparable polystyrene microbead-laden suspension under the identical operating conditions to understand the effect of particle physical properties on the droplet formation process. It is found that (1) as the cell concentration of bioink increases, the droplet size and velocity decrease, the formation of satellite droplets is suppressed, and the breakup time increases, and (2) compared to the hard bead-laden suspension, the bioink tends to have a less ejected fluid volume, lower droplet velocity, and longer breakup time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9130-9138
Number of pages9
Issue number30
StatePublished - Aug 5 2014


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