CUED Publications database

Cartilage-like electrostatic stiffening of responsive cryogel scaffolds

Offeddu, GS and Mela, I and Jeggle, P and Henderson, RM and Smoukov, SK and Oyen, ML (2017) Cartilage-like electrostatic stiffening of responsive cryogel scaffolds. Scientific Reports, 7. 42948-.

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Cartilage is a structural tissue with unique mechanical properties deriving from its electrically-charged porous structure. Traditional three-dimensional environments for the culture of cells fail to display the complex physical response displayed by the natural tissue. In this work, the reproduction of the charged environment found in cartilage is achieved using polyelectrolyte hydrogels based on polyvinyl alcohol and polyacrylic acid. The mechanical response and morphology of microporous physically-crosslinked cryogels are compared to those of heat-treated chemical gels made from the same polymers, as a result of pH-dependent swelling. In contrast to the heat-treated chemically-crosslinked gels, the elastic modulus of the physical cryogels was found to increase with charge activation and swelling, explained by the occurrence of electrostatic stiffening of the polymer chains at large charge densities. At the same time, the permeability of both materials to fluid flow was impaired by the presence of electric charges. This cartilage-like mechanical behavior displayed by responsive cryogels can be reproduced in other polyelectrolyte hydrogel systems to fabricate biomimetic cellular scaffolds for the repair of the tissue.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: bioinspired materials biomedical engineering mechanical engineering
Divisions: Div C > Biomechanics
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:11
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2021 00:50
DOI: 10.1038/srep42948