Polymer grafted graphitic carbon nitrides as precursors for reinforced lubricant hydrogels†
Hydrogels constitute an important class of polymeric materials, mainly due to their promising applications in the biomedical field. Particularly, mechanical properties are a limiting factor for applications, and reinforcement and improved wear resistance are major directions in current research. In here, graphitic carbon nitride (g-CN)-based hydrogels are presented. The hydrogels are formed in a two-step procedure. In the first step, a prepolymer is synthesized that leads to a significantly improved g-CN dispersibility and stability of g-CN dispersions. Hence, the g-CN content in the final hydrogels can be increased to obtain tough hydrogels. More importantly, hydrogels from charged monomers can be formed as well, which leads to lubricant properties. As such, the investigated route opens up new opportunities to fabricate functional hydrogels with significant toughness, compressibility and lubricity.