diacrylate (PEG-DA) hydrogels are widely utilized to probe cell-material interactions and ultimately for a material-guided approach to tissue regeneration. In this study, PEG-DA hydrogels were fabricated via solvent-induced phase separation (SIPS) to obtain hydrogels with a broader range of tunable physical properties including morphology (e.g. porosity), swelling and modulus (G′). In contrast to conventional PEG-DA hydrogels prepared from an aqueous precursor solution, the reported SIPS protocol utilized a dichloromethane (DCM) precursor solution which was sequentially photopolymerized, dried and hydrated. Physical properties were further tailored by varying the PEG-DA wt% concentration (5 wt%–25 wt%) and Mn (3.4k and 6k g mol−1). SIPS produced PEG-DA hydrogels with a macroporous morphology as well as increased G′ values versus the corresponding conventional PEG-DA hydrogels. Notably, since the total swelling was not significantly changed versus the corresponding conventional PEG-DA hydrogels, pairs or series of hydrogels represent scaffolds in which morphology and hydration or G′ and hydration are uncoupled. In addition, PEG-DA hydrogels prepared via SIPS exhibited enhanced degradation rates.
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