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Issue 48, 2017
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Hybrid pectin–Fe3+/polyacrylamide double network hydrogels with excellent strength, high stiffness, superior toughness and notch-insensitivity

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Abstract

The lack of sufficient mechanical properties restricts the application of polysaccharide-based hydrogels in the field of biomedicine, especially load-bearing tissue repair. Nowadays, double network (DN) hydrogels have aroused great interest through special cooperation between two contrasting networks. Inspired by this idea, here, we devised a new strategy to prepare a pectin–Fe3+/polyacrylamide hybrid DN hydrogel using a simple two-step method. The introduction of Fe3+ ions into a pectin network to produce strong reversible ionic complexation, results in excellent toughness. Under optimal conditions, our hybrid DN hydrogels possessed tensile strength as high as 0.9 MPa, corresponding to a high strain of 1300%. Besides, our hybrid DN hydrogels also exhibited superb stiffness (elastic modulus ∼ 1.46 MPa), toughness (fracture energy ∼ 3785 J m−2), and water absorption capacity (85%). Loading–unloading tests showed that the internal fracture process of the hydrogels was continuous. Owing to the reversible structure of Fe3+–pectin complexation, the hybrid DN hydrogels also showed good fatigue resistance, notch-insensitivity and recoverability. This type of polysaccharide-based hydrogel has potential to broaden the application in the load-bearing tissue repair field.

Graphical abstract: Hybrid pectin–Fe3+/polyacrylamide double network hydrogels with excellent strength, high stiffness, superior toughness and notch-insensitivity

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Oct 2017, accepted on 19 Nov 2017 and first published on 20 Nov 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02005H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 9237-9245
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    Hybrid pectin–Fe3+/polyacrylamide double network hydrogels with excellent strength, high stiffness, superior toughness and notch-insensitivity

    R. Niu, Z. Qin, F. Ji, M. Xu, X. Tian, J. Li and F. Yao, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 9237
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02005H

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