Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 35, 2015
Previous Article Next Article

Toughened hydrogels inspired by aquatic caddisworm silk

Author affiliations

Abstract

Aquatic caddisworm silk is a tough adhesive fiber. Part of the toughening mechanism resides in serial, Ca2+–phosphate crosslinked nano-domains that comprise H-fibroin, the major structural protein. To mimic the toughening mechanism, a synthetic phosphate-graft-methacrylate prepolymer, as a simple H-fibroin analog, was copolymerized within a covalent elastic network of polyacrylamide. Above a critical phosphate sidechain density, hydrogels equilibrated with Ca2+ or Zn2+ ions displayed greatly increased initial stiffness, strain-rate dependent yield behavior, and required 100 times more work to fracture than hydrogels equilibrated with Mg2+ or Na+ ions. Conceptually, the enhanced toughness is attributed to energy-dissipating, viscous unfolding of clustered phosphate–metal ion crosslinks at a critical stress. The toughness of the bioinspired hydrogels exceeds the toughness of cartilage and meniscus suggesting potential application as prosthetic biomaterials. The tough hydrogels also provide a simplified model to test hypotheses about caddisworm silk architecture, phosphate metal ion interactions, and mechanochemical toughening mechanisms.

Graphical abstract: Toughened hydrogels inspired by aquatic caddisworm silk

Back to tab navigation

Article information


Submitted
26 May 2015
Accepted
27 Jul 2015
First published
03 Aug 2015

Soft Matter, 2015,11, 6981-6990
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Toughened hydrogels inspired by aquatic caddisworm silk

D. D. Lane, S. Kaur, G. M. Weerasakare and R. J. Stewart, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 6981 DOI: 10.1039/C5SM01297J

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements