3D Printed Poly Lactic Acid Structures for Cell Growth and Nanoparticle Transport-Simulation and Experimental Validation

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Muralidhar Ghantasala, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. James Springstead, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Claudia Fajardo-Hansford, Ph.D.


3D printing or additive manufacturing, cell proliferation, lab-on-chip structures, multiphysics simulation and experimental validation, nanoparticle transport, poly lactic acid (PLA)

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



In today's world, 3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) is being widely used in various fields due to its benefits such as rapid prototyping, reduced material waste and energy usage, lower cost, and more. Even the tissue engineering field is utilizing this technology. This study focused on examining the compatibility of 3D printed Lab-on-a-Chip structures made of Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) for in-vitro applications. In this research, the Lab-on-a-Chip structures were designed and created using 3D printing. To achieve the required bio-functionality scaffold surface was customized by post-printing processes such as mechanical polishing, hydrolysis (Wet Chemical Etching), and ultraviolet light exposure. Additionally, the scaffold surface was modified by attaching Poly-L-lysine labeled with FITC. The viability of HEK293 cells (Human Kidney Cells) was tested by growing them on the surface of these scaffolds for varying periods. The number of cells was counted using an automated cell counter, and cell morphology was observed using an Optical Microscope, and Fluorescence Microscope. The study demonstrated that PLA is a promising biocompatible material for in-vitro models. This research also investigated the impact of printing orientation on cell growth by printing the scaffolds horizontally and vertically. The vertically printed scaffolds showed 40% more average cell growth than the horizontally printed ones, possibly due to their lower surface roughness and less porosity.

A magnetic drug delivery method involves directing paramagnetic nanoparticles combined with drugs, cells, or medical agents to a specific part of the body using magnets. This method offers many benefits over traditional drug delivery, such as biocompatibility, controlled magnetic response, and increased drug concentration in the affected area relative to other parts of the body. However, challenges remain, such as identifying key factors affecting particle trajectory and optimizing these factors.

This study used COMSOL multiphysics software to investigate the problem of magnetic nanoparticle drug delivery. The effects of mainly two forces- drag force and magnetophoretic force on particle trajectory were observed, while other forces were disregarded. The study investigated three critical parameters for efficient drug delivery: magnetic flux density, fluid velocity, and magnetic nanoparticle size. Results showed that maximum flux density and low fluid velocity attracted a greater number of magnetic particles, while particle size had negligible effects on particle trajectory. The simulation results were validated experimentally using a Microscopic setup and ImageJ/Fiji software, which showed similar results to the simulation. The study also analyzed the Y-shaped channel and electromagnet.

This document is currently not available here.