(265i) Novel Biocompatible Thermo-Responsive Poly(N-vinyl Caprolactam)/Clay Nanocomposite Hydrogels with Macro-Porous Structure and High Mechanical Property

Authors: 
Liu, Z., Sichuan University
Shi, K., Sichuan University
Ju, X. J., Sichuan University
Wang, W., Daqing Oilfield Company Ltd., PetroChina
Xie, R., Sichuan University
Chu, L. Y., Sichuan University
Poly(N-vinyl caprolactam) (PVCL) hydrogels usually suffer from the imporous structure and poor mechanical property as well as the toxicity of the crosslinker, although PVCL itself is biocompatible. In this paper, novel biocompatible thermo-responsive poly(N-vinyl caprolactam)/clay nanocomposite (PVCL-Clay) hydrogels with macro-porous structure and high mechanical property are developed for the first time. The macro-porosity in the hydrogel is introduced by using Pickering emulsions as templates, which contain N-vinyl caprolactam (VCL) monomer as dispersed phase and clay nanosheets as stabilizers at the interface. The three-dimensional hydrogel network is crosslinked by the clay nanosheets, and thus the hydrogel exhibits high mechanical property originating from the nanocomposite structure. The prepared PVCL-Clay hydrogel possesses remarkable temperature-responsive characteristics with a volume phase transition temperature (VPTT) around 35 oC, and also provides a feasible platform for cell culture. With macro-porous structure and high mechanical property as well as flexible assembly property, the proposed biocompatible thermo-responsive PVCL-Clay nanocomposite hydrogels are ideal material candidates for biomedical, analytical and other applications such as entrapment of enzymes, cell culture, tissue engineering, and affinity and displacement chromatography.
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