Composite Hydrogels with Tunable Anisotropic Morphologies and Mechanical Properties
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Fabrication of anisotropic hydrogels exhibiting direction-dependent structure and properties have attracted great interest in biomimicking, tissue engineering and bioseparation. Herein, we report a single-step freeze casting-based fabrication of structurally and mechanically anisotropic aerogels and hydrogels composed of hydrazone cross-linked poly(oligoethylene glycol methacrylate) (POEGMA) and cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). We show that by controlling the composition of the CNC/POEGMA dispersion and the freeze casting temperature, aerogels with fibrillar, columnar, or lamellar morphologies can be produced. Small-angle X-ray scattering experiments show that the anisotropy of the struc- ture originates from the alignment of the mesostructures, rather than the CNC building blocks. The composite hydrogels show high structural and mechanical integrity and a strong variation in Young's moduli in orthogonal directions. The controllable morphology and hydrogel anisotropy, coupled with hydrazone cross-linking and biocompatibility of CNCs and POEGMA, provide a versatile platform for the preparation of anisotropic hydrogels.
has subject area