Boron nitride-based nanocomposite hydrogels: preparation, properties and applications
Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) nanostructures are well-known for their good chemical stability, thermal conductivity and high elastic modulus. BN can be used as filler in hydrogels to significantly improve its mechanical and thermal properties, to reinforce its biocompatibility and to provide self-healing capacity. Moreover, in contrast with their carbon equivalents, BN nanocomposites are transparent and electrically insulating. Herein, we present an overview of BN-based nanocomposites hydrogels. First, h-BN properties are described, as well as common exfoliation and functionalization techniques employed to obtain BN nanosheets. Then, methods for preparing BN-nanocomposite hydrogels are explained, followed by a specific overview of the relationship between the composition and structure of the nanocomposites and the functional properties. Finally, the main properties of these materials are discussed in view of thermal, mechanical, and self-healing properties, along with the potential applications in tissue engineering, thermal management, drug delivery and water treatment.