A Universal Molecular Stent Method to Toughen any Hydrogels Based on Double Network Concept

Authors

  • Tasuku Nakajima,

    1. Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter, Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10-Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
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  • Hitomi Sato,

    1. Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter, Graduate School of Life Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10-Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
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  • Yu Zhao,

    1. Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter, Graduate School of Life Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10-Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
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  • Shinya Kawahara,

    1. Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter, Graduate School of Life Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10-Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
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  • Takayuki Kurokawa,

    1. Creative Research Institution, Hokkaido University, Kita-21-Nishi-10, Kita-ku, Sapporo 001-0021, Japan
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  • Kazuyuki Sugahara,

    1. Laboratory of Proteoglycan Signaling and Therapeutics, Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-21-Nishi-11, Kita-ku, Sapporo 001-0021, Japan
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  • Jian Ping Gong

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter, Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10-Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
    • Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter, Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10-Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan.
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Abstract

Double-network hydrogels (DN gels), despite their high water content, are the strongest and toughest soft and wet materials available. However, in conventional DN gels, which show extraordinarily high mechanical performance comparable to that of industrial rubbers, the first network must be a strong polyelectrolyte and this requirement greatly hinders the widespread application of these gels. A general method involving the use of a “molecular stent” for the synthesis of tough DN gels using any hydrophilic polymer as the first network is reported. This is the first reported method for the synthesis of tough DN gels using various neutral or weak polyelectrolyte hydrogels as the first network. This method helps extend the DN gel concept to various functional polymers and may increase the number of applications of hydrogels in various fields.

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