Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) printing filament is a water-soluble support material for multi-extrusion 3D printing of complex architectures. PVA is widely used in traditional industries, such as textiles and papermaking, as well as a wide variety of coatings. This colorless, odorless, and high-quality filament extrudes between 180 to 205 °C and is suitable with all RepRap technology-based desktop 3D printers, such as MakerBot, Ultimaker, RepRap (Mendel, Huxley, Prusa), UP!, Solidoodle, Leapfrog, etc. PVA features good adhesion to PLA and nylon materials and is biodegradable in water with no hazardous by-products. While PVA is soluble in cold water, the dissolution process can be accelerated by using a continuously heated bath of warm water. When not in use, the filament should be stored at room temperature in dry conditions, such as in a sealed plastic bag or in a closed container with desiccant. Recommended initial printer settings can be found in the ′General Print Settings′ file.
Due to its water-solubility and biocompatibility, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) filaments are most commonly used as a sacrificial material in the formation of tissue engineering constructs with unique and complicated architectures. The use of this material allows for the printing of scaffolds with large overhangs, deep internal cavities, and/or intricate geometries. In addition to their use as sacrificial materials, PVA filaments have also been used to print novel oral drug delivery devices and tablets.