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A Self-healable And Tough Nanocomposite Hydrogel Crosslinked By Novel Ultrasmall Aluminum Hydroxide Nanoparticles.

Haoyang Jiang, Gongzheng Zhang, F. Li, Yaqian Zhang, Y. Lei, Y. Xia, Xianghu Jin, Xianqi Feng, H. Li
Published 2017 · Materials Science, Medicine

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Self-healing hydrogels like tissues or organs which are repaired automatically in response to damage show great promise. However, it remains a challenge to develop novel functional nanoparticles as crosslinkers to prepare tough and self-healing nanocomposite hydrogels. Here, we report the preparation of water-soluble ultrasmall aluminum hydroxide nanoparticles with a diameter of 2-3 nm through a simple sol-gel method. Furthermore, a tough nanocomposite hydrogel is prepared by the in situ copolymerization of acylamide and 2-acrylamido-2-methyl propane sulfonic acid in the presence of aluminum hydroxide nanoparticles. The resulting hydrogels exhibit high compressive strength of 18.9 MPa and an elongation at break of ∼2100%. Importantly, the Al-NC gel displayed a high self-healing efficiency of 86% without any external stimulus at room temperature. Moreover, we found an interesting multi-hierarchical porous morphology of the Al-NC gel depending on the contents of the aluminum hydroxide nanoparticles. The tough nanocomposite hydrogel might provide a novel promising avenue for designing advanced self-healable soft materials for various biomedical applications.
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