3D printed polymers toxicity profiling: A caution for biodevice applications

Feng Zhu, Joanna Skommer, Timo Friedrich, Jan Kaslin, Donald Wlodkowic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

13 Citations (Scopus)


A recent revolution in additive manufacturing technologies and access to 3D Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software has spurred an explosive growth of new technologies in biomedical engineering. This includes biomodels for diagnosis, surgical training, hard and soft tissue replacement, biodevices and tissue engineering. Moreover, recent developments in high-definition additive manufacturing systems such as Multi-Jet Modelling (MJM) and Stereolithography (SLA), capable of reproducing feature sizes close to 100 Î1/4m, promise brand new capabilities in fabrication of optical-grade biomicrofluidic Lab-on-a-Chip and MEMS devices. Compared with other rapid prototyping technologies such as soft lithography and infrared laser micromachining in PMMA, SLA and MJM systems can enable user-friendly production of prototypes, superior feature reproduction quality and comparable levels of optical transparency. Prospectively they can revolutionize fabrication of microfluidic devices with complex geometric features and eliminate the need to use clean room environment and conventional microfabrication techniques. In this work we demonstrate preliminary data on toxicity profiling of a panel of common polymers used in 3D printing applications. The main motivation of our work was to evaluate toxicity profiles of most commonly used polymers using standardized biotests according to OECD guidelines for testing of chemic risk assessment. Our work for the first time provides a multispecies view of potential dangers and limitation for building biocompatible devices using FDM, SLA and MJM additive manufacturing systems. Our work shows that additive manufacturing holds significant promise for fabricating LOC and MEMS but requires caution when selecting systems and polymers due to toxicity exhibited by some 3D printing polymers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781628418903
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventSPIE Micro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Applications Symposium 2015 - The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 6 Dec 20159 Dec 2015


ConferenceSPIE Micro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Applications Symposium 2015
Internet address


  • Additive manufacturing
  • biotest
  • fabrication
  • microfluidics
  • polymer
  • toxicity

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