Self-Healing Double Network Hydrogels
Investigators: Dr. Thomas Seery & Omar Allam, UConn Chemistry and Institute of Material Science (IMS), and the Jin Group, Chemistry Department at Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Hydrogels are gels in which the polymer chains that constitute them are hydrophilic and thus readily absorb water. Theoretically, hydrogels have a wide array of applications, however, they display poor mechanical properties, which limit their use. My research aims at i) synthesizing hydrogels with a unique double network structure in order to improve their mechanical properties (in particular, their toughness) and ii) characterizing the physical properties of these new hydrogels to determine their suitability for possible biomedical applications. If this new structure for hydrogels exhibits superior mechanical properties, it will provide an opportunity to test possible applications such as artificial cartilage, contact lenses, and scaffolds for delivering medicine.