3D-printed Franz cells - update on optimization of manufacture and evaluation

Sil dos Santos, Bruno, Belgrave, Rebecca G., Alvarez, Miguel P., Luo, Lin, Cristofoli, Mignon, Penny, Matthew R., Moore, David J., Hadgraft, Jonathan, Hilton, Stephen T. and Lane, Majella E. (2020) 3D-printed Franz cells - update on optimization of manufacture and evaluation. International journal of cosmetic science, 42 (4). pp. 415-419. ISSN 0142-5463


OBJECTIVES: Laboratory in vitro permeation processes require the use of modified Franz type diffusion cells which are conventionally fabricated from glass. Fragility and high cost are frequently associated with this type of laboratory apparatus. The purpose of our present research was to develop a simple, economical and versatile approach to manufacture Franz type cells using additive manufacturing (AM).

METHODS: Graphical Franz diffusion cell designs were reproduced with a stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer and assessed over a minimum period of 24 h. The surface morphology of AM printouts was analysed before and after compatibility studies using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Comparative permeation studies in both glass and AM Franz type diffusion cells were conducted using a caffeine solution (1.5 mg mL‑1), applied to a model silicone membrane.

RESULTS: Testing of the 3D printed scaffolds confirmed similar recovery of the permeant when compared to glass cells: 1.49 ± 0.01 and 1.50 ± 0.01 mg mL‑1, respectively, after 72 h. No significant differences were visible from the SEM micrographs demonstrating consistent, smooth and non-porous surfaces of the AM Franz cells’ core structure. Permeation studies using transparent 3D printed constructs resulted in 12.85 ± 0.53 μg cm ‑2 caffeine recovery in the receptor solution after 180 min with comparable permeant recovery, 11.49 ± 1.04 μg cm ‑2, for the glass homologues.

CONCLUSION: AM constructs can be considered as viable alternatives to the use of conventional glass apparatus offering a simple, reproducible and cost-effective method of replicating specialised laboratory glassware. A wider range of permeants will be investigated in future studies with these novel 3D printed Franz diffusion cells.

ics.12618 (1).pdf - Accepted Version

Download (7MB) | Preview
ics.12618.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (647kB)


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

View Item View Item