Engineering HDR Seminar Series 1, 2013: Fabrication, Characterization and Application of Ultra-high Concentration Alginate Hydrogel Beads

Ms Voo Wan Ping, Chem Eng postgraduate student

Date: 2013-01-14
Time: 11:00 to 12:00
Venue: Engineering Meeting Room 1, 5-4-22


Alginate is a naturally occurring biopolymer which is biocompatible, non-toxic, relatively low cost, and it can form a semi-permeable hydrogel at mild condition by addition of divalent cations such as calcium. Therefore, alginate hydrogel beads have found applications in tissue engineering, pharmaceutical and bioprocessing. The hydrogel network not only provides a structural support to immobilize living cells and biomaterials, but also permits the diffusion or controlled-delivery of molecules across the hydrogel membrane. Over the years, there have been interests to improve the mechanical properties of alginate hydrogel beads or to modify their mass transport properties to suit specific applications. However, most of the attempts required additional coating procedures, chemical modifications of alginate or incorporation of other polymers. Since it is known that alginate concentration affects the degree of cross-linking of the hydrogel network, this study aims to fabricate alginate hydrogel beads made of ultra-high polymer concentration, and to study the mechanical and mass transport properties of the beads. The high viscosity of alginate solution will be partially overcome by increasing the processing temperature and monodisperse spherical beads will be fabricated using the jet-cutting method. The effects of heating on solution viscosity and depolymerisation of alginate will first be investigated. The mechanical strength of beads will be determined using Hertz’s contact theory based on uni-axial compression of single bead and the mass transport properties will be studied using Fick’s law. Example applications of the beads will be demonstrated subsequently.  

About the Speaker

Voo Wan Ping received her Bachelor Degree (2008) and Master Degree (2011) in Chemical Engineering from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). She joined Monash University for postgraduate studies in year 2012 under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Chan Eng Seng and Prof. Tey Beng Ti. Her research in Monash University is focused on the ultra-high concentration Ca-alginate beads.