A 3D printable and highly stretchable tough hydrogel is developed by combining poly(ethylene glycol) and sodium alginate, which synergize to. Hydrogels are used as scaffolds for tissue engineering, vehicles for drug delivery, actuators for optics and fluidics, and model extracellular matrices for biological. In this investigation, we successfully prepared extremely stretchable, transparent and tough DN hydrogels by using neutral synthetic polymer–poly(vinyl alcohol).

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Moreover, alginate is finely dispersed in the hybrid gel homogeneously, as demonstrated by hghly fluorescent alginate and by measuring local elastic modulus with atomic force microscopy Supplementary Fig.

The alginate gel exhibited pronounced hysteresis and retained significant permanent deformation after unloading. Certain synthetic hydrogels have achieved exceptional mechanical behavior. Our data suggest that the fracture energy of hydrogels can be dramatically enhanced by combining weak and strong crosslinks. The toughness of the hybrid gel can be understood by adapting a model well studied for toughened ceramics [ 25 ] and for gels of double networks of covalent crosslinks [ 2627 ].

The unzipped ionic crosslinks cause internal damage, which heals by re-zipping. Crack blunting and the strength of soft elastic solids. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to Z. When the hybrid gel is stretched, the polyacrylamide network remains intact and stabilizes the deformation, while the alginate network unzips progressively, with closely spaced ionic crosslinks unzipping at a small stretch, followed by more and more widely spaced ionic crosslinks unzipping as the stretch increases.


The gel was glued to two clamps made of polystyrene, resulting in specimens of Email address is optional. Skip to search form Skip to main content. In the ionically crosslinked alginate, fracture proceeds by highlly ionic crosslinks and pulling out chains [ 24 ]. In contrast, rough polyacrylamide gel showed negligible hysteresis, and the sample fully recovered its original length after unloading. Adaptive liquid microlenses activated by stimuli-responsive hydrogels.

The scope of hydrogel applications, however, is often severely limited by their mechanical behaviour. Even for samples containing notches, a stretch of 17 is demonstrated.

The process might lead to injectable materials for delivering drugs or cells into the body; scaffolds for regenerating load-bearing tissues; or tough but flexible actuators for future robots, the researchers say. Zhao, but the demonstration that one can achieve similar mechanical performance with a common biomedical polymer is a substantial advance. Direct observation of damage zone around crack tips in double-network gels.

Proc R Soc Lond A. The publisher’s final edited version of this article is available at Nature.

Highly stretchable and tough hydrogels

Mooney1, 4 Joost J. Independent control of rigidity and toughness of polymeric hydrogels. Hybrid gels dissipate energy effectively, as shown by pronounced hysteresis.

The diversity of weak and strong molecular integrations makes hybrid gels of various kinds a fertile area of research. High-water-content mouldable hydrogels by mixing clay and a dendritic molecular binder. When we cut a notch into the gel Fig.

Highly stretchable and tough hydrogels – Semantic Scholar

An elastic gel is known to be brittle and notch-sensitive—that is, the high stretchability and strength drop markedly when samples contain notches, or any other features that cause inhomogeneous deformation [ 19 ]. Supplementary Information is linked to the online version of the paper at www. In addition to biomedical applications, the same technique could be applied to printing a variety of soft but tough structural materials, he says, such as actuators for soft robotic systems.


A gel can be made tough and notch-insensitive by introducing energy-dissipating mechanisms. The pronounced hysteresis and relatively small permanent deformation of the hybrid gel were further demonstrated by loading several samples toug large values of stretch before unloading Fig.

Hydrogels Search for additional papers on this topic. Baumberger T, Ronsin O.

New Process for 3D Printing of Highly Stretchable and Tough Hydrogels

The experiments showed that the measured fracture energy is independent of the shape and size of the specimens. Ionically cross-linked triblock copolymer hydrogels with high strength. In addition, the previous work was not able to produce complex 3-D structures with tough hydrogels, Zhao says. Proc R Soc A.

All authors commented on the manuscript. Haraguchi K, Takehisa T.

The covalent crosslinker, MBAA, was fixed at 0. Most hydrogels do not exhibit high stretchability. Long-term stable hydrogels for biorelevant dissolution testing of drug-eluting stents Beatrice SemmlingStefan NagelK. The next step in the research will be to improve the resolution of strrtchable printer, which is currently limited to details about micrometers in size, and to test the printed hydrogel structures in animal models.