June 29, 2022


The structure of biocarriers is one of the most important operational characteristics of a biofilm reactor. The aim of this study is to develop a series of novel fullerene-type biocarriers using three-dimensional printing (3DP) technology. 3DP can create biocarriers with more specialized structures compared to traditional manufacturing processes.

In this research, three types of fullerene-type biocarriers were prepared using the 3DP technique and then compared to biocarrier K3 (by AnoxKaldnes) in the areas of physicochemical properties and biofilm growth. Images taken by 3D profiling and SEM showed that the surface roughness of the 3DP biocarrier was greater than that of K3. In addition, contact angle data indicated that the 3DP biocarriers were more hydrophilic than K3. The biofilm on the 3DP biocarriers showed higher microbial activity and stronger adhesion ability. These findings were attributed to the excellent mass transfer of the substrate (and oxygen) between the vapor-liquid-solid three-phase system and the surface properties. It is concluded that the novel fullerene-type 3DP biocarriers are ideal carriers for attachment and growth of biofilms.

3DP technology offers many advantages over other manufacturing techniques. Traditional manufacturing methods depend on cutting and molding technologies to create a limited number of structures and shapes, with more complicated hollow objects requiring the assembly of multiple separate parts. However, 3DP technology is changing this process – 3D printers can create many complex figures based on virtual blueprints created through computer-aided design (CAD), and the results are limited only by a person’s imagination. This process also offers better structural integrity and durability.

The 3DP technique can eliminate the limitations of combining different raw materials, a problem that can arise with traditional methods when there are discrepancies between chemical and physical properties. The process of 3DP technology enables fast automated production7. In the long term, the range of industrial 3DP engineering applications will skyrocket as the latest 3DP techniques accommodate larger product objects and achieve higher levels of precision at a lower cost8. The 3DP technique is one of the most viable rapid prototyping technologies and has enormous potential application value.