• nanoparticles;
  • nanowires and nanocrystals;
  • composites;
  • biodegradable


With an aim to develop injectable hydrogel with improved solution stability and enhanced bone repair function, thermogelling poly(ε-caprolactone-co-p-dioxanone)-poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(ε-caprolactone–co-p-dioxanone) (PECP)/bioactive inorganic particle nanocomposites were successfully prepared by blending the triblock copolymer (PECP) with nano-hydroxyapatite (n-HA) or nano-calcium carbonate (n-CaCO3). The hydrogel nanocomposites underwent clear sol–gel transitions with increasing temperature from 0 to 50°C. The obtained hydrogel nanocomposites were investigated by 1H NMR, FT-IR, TEM, and DSC. It was found that the incorporation of inorganic nanoparticles into PECP matrix would lead to the critical gelation temperature (CGT) shifting to lower values compared with the pure PECP hydrogel. The CGT of the hydrogel nanocomposites could be effectively controlled by adjusting PECP concentration or the content of inorganic nanoparticles. The SEM results showed that the interconnected porous structures of hydrogel nanocomposites were potentially useful as injectable scaffolds. In addition, due to the relatively low crystallinity of PECP triblock copolymer, the aqueous solutions of the nanocomposites could be stored at low temperature (5°C) without crystallization for several days, which would facilitate the practical applications. The PECP/bioactive inorganic particle hydrogel nanocomposites are expected to be promising injectable tissue engineering materials for bone repair applications. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013