Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Food Science and Technology

First Advisor

Xiaolei Shi


Within the last decade, three-dimensional (3D) printing has attracted an unprecedented interest as a promising technology due to its high flexibility and cost-effectiveness. The hydrogels and colloids formed by biopolymers such as cellulose derivatives have been considered as the most critical materials for the development of 3D printing technology because of their biodegradability and biocompatibility. In this work, two types of cellulose derivatives, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and methylcellulose (MC), were selected as the potential materials to assess their printability by using semi-solid extrusion (SSE) based 3D printer. The HPMC and MC based hydrogels showed a shear-thinning behavior, which is desirable for the extrusion-based 3D printing. Since HPMC and MC are also widely used in the conventional pharmaceutical industry, the feasibility of using an SSE-based 3D printer to fabricate cellulose derivative-based tablets was also investigated. The 3D printed tablets contained two solid ingredients, cellulose derivatives as the excipient and theophylline as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The therapeutic paste was prepared by combining various doses of theophylline (0, 75, 100, 125mg) with different concentrations of excipients (8, 10, and 12%). The paste was then 3D printed into semi-solid tablets under optimized printing conditions under ambient temperature. The concentration and type of excipient played predominate roles in determining the 3D printing potential, which was related to the rheological and textural properties. The results of apparent viscosity, yield stress, storage modulus, and hardness showed a significant increase with the increase in excipient concentration. For tablets with different excipients, the MC A4M 12% (w/w) based tablets showed the best printing quality and shape retention ability, followed by HPMC K4M 12% (w/w) based tablets. The tan δ values of these tablets with optimal printability fell in the range between 0.2 and 0.7, which indicated the solid-like property. The increased concentration of excipient also significantly increased the magnitude of storage modulus. The results of flow behavior and oscillation sweep tests could be used to predict the printability of potential materials for 3D printing purposes using the current platform.


Copyright Owner

Yiliang Cheng



File Format


File Size

110 pages

Available for download on Saturday, August 28, 2021