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A short linear glucan nanocomposite hydrogel formed by in situ self-assembly with highly elastic, fatigue-resistant and self-recovery.

Carbohydrate Polymers 2024 September 16
Polyacrylamide (PAM) hydrogels are widely used in wide-ranging applications in biology, medicine, pharmaceuticals and environmental sectors. However, achieving the requisite mechanical properties, fatigue resistance, self-recovery, biocompatibility, and biodegradability remains a challenge. Herein, we present a facile method to construct a nanocomposite hydrogel by integrating short linear glucan (SLG), obtained by debranching waxy corn starch, into a PAM network through self-assembly. The resulting composite hydrogel with 10 % SLG content exhibited satisfactory stretchability (withstanding over 1200 % strain), along with maximum compressive and shear strengths of about 490 kPa and 39 kPa at 90 % deformation, respectively. The hydrogel demonstrated remarkable resilience and could endure repeated compression and stretching. Notably, the nanocomposite hydrogel with 10 % SLG content exhibited full stress recovery at 90 % compression deformation after 20 s, without requiring specific environmental conditions, achieving an energy dissipation recovery rate of 98 %. Meanwhile, these hydrogels exhibited strong adhesion to various soft and hard substrates, including skin, glasses and metals. Furthermore, they maintain solid integrity at both 37 °C and 50 °C after swelling equilibrium, unlike traditional PAM hydrogels, which exhibited softening under similar conditions. We hope that this PAM-SLG hydrogel will open up new avenues for the development of multifunctional electronic devices, offering enhanced performance and versatility.

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