Self-curing super-stretchable polymer/microgel complex coacervate gels without covalent bond formation

Shanglin Wu, Mingning Zhu, Dongdong Lu, Amir H. Milani, Qing Lian, Lee A. Fielding, Brian R. Saunders, Matthew J. Derry, Steven P. Armes, Daman Adlam, Judith A. Hoyland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Elastic physical gels are highly desirable because they can be conveniently prepared and readily shaped. Unfortunately, many elastic physical gels prepared in water require in situ free-radical polymerization during the gel formation stage. In contrast, complex coacervate gels are physical gels that can be prepared by simply mixing two pre-formed oppositely-charged polyelectrolytes. However, as far as we are aware, highly elastic complex coacervate gels have not yet been reported. Herein, we combine polyanionic microgel particles with a well-known commercially-available cationic polyelectrolyte to prepare polymer/microgel complex coacervate (PMCC) physical gels. This new family of gels requires annealing at only 37 °C and behaves like a covalent gel but does not form covalent bonds. Thermal reconfiguration of the dynamic ionic bonds transforms the shapeable pre-gel into a highly elastic gel that is super-stretchable, adhesive, self-healing, highly swellable and can be further toughened using Ca2+ as an ionic crosslinker. Our PMCC gels have excellent potential for applications as engineering gels and structural biomaterials, as well as for wound healing and water purification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8832-8839
JournalChemical Science
Volume10
Issue number38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2019

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Covalent bonds
Curing
Polymers
Gels
Water
Biocompatible Materials
Free radical polymerization
Polyelectrolytes
Purification
Adhesives

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence.

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Wu, S., Zhu, M., Lu, D., Milani, A. H., Lian, Q., Fielding, L. A., ... Hoyland, J. A. (2019). Self-curing super-stretchable polymer/microgel complex coacervate gels without covalent bond formation. Chemical Science, 10(38), 8832-8839. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9SC02555C
Wu, Shanglin ; Zhu, Mingning ; Lu, Dongdong ; Milani, Amir H. ; Lian, Qing ; Fielding, Lee A. ; Saunders, Brian R. ; Derry, Matthew J. ; Armes, Steven P. ; Adlam, Daman ; Hoyland, Judith A. / Self-curing super-stretchable polymer/microgel complex coacervate gels without covalent bond formation. In: Chemical Science. 2019 ; Vol. 10, No. 38. pp. 8832-8839.
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Wu, S, Zhu, M, Lu, D, Milani, AH, Lian, Q, Fielding, LA, Saunders, BR, Derry, MJ, Armes, SP, Adlam, D & Hoyland, JA 2019, 'Self-curing super-stretchable polymer/microgel complex coacervate gels without covalent bond formation', Chemical Science, vol. 10, no. 38, pp. 8832-8839. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9SC02555C

Self-curing super-stretchable polymer/microgel complex coacervate gels without covalent bond formation. / Wu, Shanglin; Zhu, Mingning; Lu, Dongdong; Milani, Amir H.; Lian, Qing; Fielding, Lee A.; Saunders, Brian R.; Derry, Matthew J.; Armes, Steven P.; Adlam, Daman; Hoyland, Judith A.

In: Chemical Science, Vol. 10, No. 38, 03.08.2019, p. 8832-8839.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Wu, Shanglin

AU - Zhu, Mingning

AU - Lu, Dongdong

AU - Milani, Amir H.

AU - Lian, Qing

AU - Fielding, Lee A.

AU - Saunders, Brian R.

AU - Derry, Matthew J.

AU - Armes, Steven P.

AU - Adlam, Daman

AU - Hoyland, Judith A.

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PY - 2019/8/3

Y1 - 2019/8/3

N2 - Elastic physical gels are highly desirable because they can be conveniently prepared and readily shaped. Unfortunately, many elastic physical gels prepared in water require in situ free-radical polymerization during the gel formation stage. In contrast, complex coacervate gels are physical gels that can be prepared by simply mixing two pre-formed oppositely-charged polyelectrolytes. However, as far as we are aware, highly elastic complex coacervate gels have not yet been reported. Herein, we combine polyanionic microgel particles with a well-known commercially-available cationic polyelectrolyte to prepare polymer/microgel complex coacervate (PMCC) physical gels. This new family of gels requires annealing at only 37 °C and behaves like a covalent gel but does not form covalent bonds. Thermal reconfiguration of the dynamic ionic bonds transforms the shapeable pre-gel into a highly elastic gel that is super-stretchable, adhesive, self-healing, highly swellable and can be further toughened using Ca2+ as an ionic crosslinker. Our PMCC gels have excellent potential for applications as engineering gels and structural biomaterials, as well as for wound healing and water purification.

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