A NEW CLASS OF HYBRID HYDROGELS
Fernandes, Neville Justine
Raghavan, Srinivasa R
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Hybrid hydrogels are a novel way of combining materials with different properties and retaining their individual functionalities within the same composite gel. Here we attempt to demonstrate how this approach can be used to create hydrogels whose morphologies can be altered depending on external stimuli. First we report the creation of hollow hybrid gels which are similar to the previously created solid hybrid gels but have the advantage of a faster and enhanced response to external stimuli. Two stimuli that we have specifically investigated are temperature and solvent composition. We show how to modify the type and extent of response of the gels, i.e. make them shrink or swell, by changing the composition of the polymer as well as the crosslinker within the gel. Thereafter, we also demonstrate how the responses can be manipulated to change the morphology of the hybrid gel itself.