Journal article

Unconventional Tough Double-Network Hydrogels with Rapid Mechanical Recovery, Self-Healing, and Self-Gluing Properties

Hydrogels are polymeric materials that have a relatively high capacity for holding water. Recently, a double network (DN) technique was developed to fabricate hydrogels with a toughness comparable to rubber. The mechanical properties of DN hydrogels may be attributed to the brittle sacrificial bonding network of one hydrogel, facilitating stress dispersion, combined with ductile polymer chains of a second hydrogel. Herein, we report a novel class of tunable DN hydrogels composed of a polyurethane hydrogel and a stronger, dipole-dipole and H-bonding interaction reinforced (DHIR) hydrogel. Compared to conventional DN hydrogels, these materials show remarkable improvements in mechanical recovery, modulus, and yielding, with excellent self-healing and self-gluing properties. In addition, the new DN hydrogels exhibit excellent tensile and compression strengths and possess shape-memory properties, which make them promising for applications in engineering, biomedicine, and other domains where load bearing is required.


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