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Issue 6, 2019
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The structure–property relationship in LAPONITE® materials: from Wigner glasses to strong self-healing hydrogels formed by non-covalent interactions

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Abstract

Rheology, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis, zeta potential measurement, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and micro-FTIR and absorbance spectroscopy were used to enlighten the controversial literature about LAPONITE® materials. Our data suggest that pristine LAPONITE® in water does not form hydrogels induced by the so-called “house of cards” assembly, but rather forms Wigner glasses governed by repulsive forces. Ionic interactions between anisotropic LAPONITE® nanodiscs, sodium polyacrylate and inorganic salts afforded hydrogels that were transparent, self-standing, moldable, strong, and biocompatible with shear-thinning and self-healing behavior. An extensive study on the role of salts in the gelification process dictates a trend that relates the valence of cations with the viscoelastic properties of the bulk material (G′ values follow the trend, monovalent < divalent < trivalent). These hydrogels present G′ values up to 5.1 × 104 Pa, which are considered high values for non-covalent hydrogels. Hydrogels crosslinked with sodium phosphate salts are biocompatible, and might be valid candidates for injectable drug delivery systems due to their shear-thinning behavior with rapid self-healing after injection.

Graphical abstract: The structure–property relationship in LAPONITE® materials: from Wigner glasses to strong self-healing hydrogels formed by non-covalent interactions

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Article information


Submitted
25 Sep 2018
Accepted
08 Nov 2018
First published
08 Nov 2018

Soft Matter, 2019,15, 1278-1289
Article type
Paper

The structure–property relationship in LAPONITE® materials: from Wigner glasses to strong self-healing hydrogels formed by non-covalent interactions

T. B. Becher, C. B. Braga, D. L. Bertuzzi, M. D. Ramos, A. Hassan, F. N. Crespilho and C. Ornelas, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 1278
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM01965G

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