Bentonite Reinforced Tough Composite Hydrogels as Potential Artificial Articular Cartilage
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Novel tough composite hydrogels were prepared from inorganic bentonite(IB), polyvinyl alcohol(PVA) and polyethylene glycol(PEG) by means of a freeze-thaw technique, during which IB acted as multifunctional physically crosslinking junction and a filler to bridge the 3D network hydrogel; while the physical adsorption between IB and the polymer chains served as sacrificial bonds and increased the energy dissipation efficiency. The effects of different content of IB(wIB) on the morphological, thermal, swelling, and mechanical properties of the hydrogels were investigated. It was found that the added IB promoted the material crosslinking and stability, and the mechanical properties of the hydrogels were significantly improved with increasing wIB. The highest tensile stress of the hydrogel was achieved(1.1 MPa) when wIB was 5%. The synthesized hydrogels with high mechanical strength and low friction coefficient are potential candidate materials for artificial cartilage.
KeywordsBentonite Polyvinyl alcohol Polyethylene glycol Freeze-thaw Hydrogel
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