3D printable conducting hydrogels containing chemically converted graphene†
The development of conducting 3D structured biocompatible scaffolds for the growth of electroresponsive cells is critical in the field of tissue engineering. This work reports the synthesis and 3D processing of UV-crosslinkable conducting cytocompatible hydrogels that are prepared from methacrylated chitosan (ChiMA) containing graphenic nanosheets. The addition of chemically converted graphene resulted in mechanical and electrical properties of the composite that were significantly better than ChiMA itself, as well as improved adhesion, proliferation and spreading of L929 fibroblasts cells. The chemically converted graphene/ChiMA hydrogels were amenable to 3D printing and this was used to produce multilayer scaffolds with enhanced mechanical properties through UV-crosslinking.