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Issue 29, 2013
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Enhanced rigidity and rupture strength of composite hydrogel networks of bio-inspired block copolymers

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Abstract

We study self-assembled composite networks consisting of silk-like protein fibers dispersed in a soft gel matrix formed by collagen-like block copolymers. Rheological analysis shows that the composite networks have significantly higher storage moduli than either of the single networks. This is caused by bundling of the fibrils due to depletion attraction induced by the collagen-like polymers. Moreover, the soft background network significantly modifies the non-linear response of the fibrillar network; the strain-hardening disappears almost completely and the stress and strain at which the gel breaks increase strongly, resulting in tougher hydrogels.

Graphical abstract: Enhanced rigidity and rupture strength of composite hydrogel networks of bio-inspired block copolymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Jan 2013, accepted on 14 Mar 2013 and first published on 02 Apr 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM00091E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2013,9, 6936-6942
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    Enhanced rigidity and rupture strength of composite hydrogel networks of bio-inspired block copolymers

    W. H. Rombouts, M. Colomb-Delsuc, M. W. T. Werten, S. Otto, F. A. de Wolf and J. van der Gucht, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 6936
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM00091E

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