Rational positioning of 3D-printed voxels to realize high-fidelity multifunctional soft-hard interfaces

Mauricio Cruz Saldívar, Robin Petrus Elias Veeger, Edwin Tay, Michele Fenu, Maria Klimopoulou, Gerjo van Osch, Lidy Fratila-Apachitei, Zjenja Doubrovski, Mohammad Javad Mirzaali*, Amir Abbas Zadpoor, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Living organisms use functional gradients (FGs) to interface hard and soft materials (e.g., bone and tendon), a strategy with engineering potential. Past attempts involving hard (or soft) phase ratio variation have led to mechanical property inaccuracies because of microscale-material macroscale-property nonlinearity. This study examines 3D-printed voxels from either hard or soft phase to decode this relationship. Combining micro/macroscale experiments and finite element simulations, a power law model emerges, linking voxel arrangement to composite properties. This model guides the creation of voxel-level FG structures, resulting in two biomimetic constructs mimicking specific bone-soft tissue interfaces with superior mechanical properties. Additionally, the model studies the FG influence on murine preosteoblast and human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cell (hBMSC) morphology and protein expression, driving rational design of soft-hard interfaces in biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101552
Number of pages24
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • bio-inspired composites
  • functional gradients
  • interface tissue engineering
  • regenerative medicine
  • soft-hard interfaces
  • voxel-by-voxel 3D printing


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