New 'tougher-than-metal' fiber-reinforced hydrogels

February 23, 2017

Efforts are currently underway around the world to create materials that are friendly to both society and the environment. Among them are those that comprise different materials, which exhibit the merits of each component.

Hokkaido University researchers, led by Professor Jian Ping Gong, have focused on creating a reinforced material using hydrogels. Though such a substance has potential as a structural biomaterial, up until now no material reliable and strong enough for long-term use has been produced. This study was conducted as a part of the Cabinet Office's Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT).

To address the problem, the team combined hydrogels containing high levels of water with glass fiber fabric to create bendable, yet tough materials, employing the same method used to produce reinforced plastics. The team found that a combination of polyampholyte (PA) gels, a type of hydrogel they developed earlier, and glass fiber fabric with a single fiber measuring around 10μm in diameter produced a strong, tensile material. The procedure to make the material is simply to immerse the fabric in PA precursor solutions for polymerization.

When used alone, the fiber-reinforced hydrogels developed by the team are 25 times tougher than glass fiber fabric, and 100 times tougher than hydrogels - in terms of the energy required to destroy them. Combining these materials enables a synergistic toughening. The team theorizes that toughness is increased by dynamic ionic bonds between the fiber and hydrogels, and within the hydrogels, as the fiber's toughness increases in relation to that of the hydrogels. Consequently, the newly developed hydrogels are 5 times tougher compared to carbon steel.

"The fiber-reinforced hydrogels, with a 40 percent water level, are environmentally friendly," says Dr. Jian Ping Gong, "The material has multiple potential applications because of its reliability, durability and flexibility. For example, in addition to fashion and manufacturing uses, it could be used as artificial ligaments and tendons, which are subject to strong load-bearing tensions." The principles to create the toughness of the present study can also be applied to other soft components, such as rubber.
-end-


Hokkaido University

Related Hydrogels Articles from Brightsurf:

Magnetic field and hydrogels could be used to grow new cartilage
Instead of using synthetic materials, Penn Medicine study shows magnets could be used to arrange cells to grow new tissues

Cartilage-Inspired, Lipid-Based and Super Slippery Synthetic Hydrogels
Drawing inspiration from the mechanisms that lubricate the cartilage in our joints over a lifetime of wear, researchers designed extremely slippery hydrogels with self-renewing, lipid-based boundary layers, which result in a near 100-fold reduction in friction and wear over other hydrogels.

Coaxing single stem cells into specialized cells
Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have developed a unique method for precisely controlling the deposition of hydrogel, which is made of water-soluble polymers commonly used to support cells in experiments or for therapeutic purposes.

New hydrogels for T-cell growth to be used in cancer immunotherapy
A team with the participation of researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has designed new hydrogels that allow the culture of T-cells or T-lymphocytes, cells of the immune system that are used in cancer immunotherapy since they have the capacity to destroy tumor cells.

Superfast o-phthalaldehyde/N-nucleophile cross-linking strategy for biomedical hydrogels
Recently, Prof. Xuesi Chen and colleagues at the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, proposed a new crosslinking strategy based on the condensation reaction between o-phthalaldehyde (OPA) and N-nucleophiles for hydrogel formation.

FEFU scientists propose to restore neural tissue with hydrogels based on modified pectins
Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) scientists have developed implantable hydrogels based on plant polysaccharides (pectins).

Researchers develop cell injection technique that could help reverse vision loss
University of Toronto Engineering researchers have developed a new method of injecting healthy cells into damaged eyes.

Hydrogel paves way for biomedical breakthrough
Dubbed the ''invisibility cloak'', engineers at the University of Sydney have developed a hydrogel that allows implants and transplants to better and more safetly interact with surrounding tissue.

Hydrogel mimics human brain with memorizing and forgetting ability
Hokkaido University researchers have found a soft and wet material that can memorize, retrieve, and forget information, much like the human brain.

Diabetic mice improve with retrievable millimeter-thick cell-laden hydrogel fiber
Researchers from The University of Tokyo developed a novel fiber-shaped hydrogel transplant for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Read More: Hydrogels News and Hydrogels Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.