The Francis Crick Institute
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Nanocomposite hydrogels with polymer grafted silica nanoparticles, using glucose oxidase.

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-03, 10:13 authored by Ali A Mohammed, Siwei Li, Tian Sang, Julian R Jones, Alessandra Pinna
Nanocomposite hydrogels offer remarkable potential for applications in bone tissue engineering. They are synthesized through the chemical or physical crosslinking of polymers and nanomaterials, allowing for the enhancement of their behaviour by modifying the properties and compositions of the nanomaterials involved. However, their mechanical properties require further enhancement to meet the demands of bone tissue engineering. Here, we present an approach to improve the mechanical properties of nanocomposite hydrogels by incorporating polymer grafted silica nanoparticles into a double network inspired hydrogel (gSNP Gels). The gSNP Gels were synthesised via a graft polymerization process using a redox initiator. gSNP Gels were formed by grafting 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropanesulfonic acid (AMPS) as the first network gel followed by a sequential second network acrylamide (AAm) onto amine functionalized silica nanoparticles (ASNPs). We utilized glucose oxidase (GOx) to create an oxygen-free atmosphere during polymerization, resulting in higher polymer conversion compared to argon degassing. The gSNP Gels showed excellent compressive strengths of 13.9 ± 5.5 MPa, a strain of 69.6 ± 6.4%, and a water content of 63.4% ± 1.8. The synthesis technique demonstrates a promising approach to enhance the mechanical properties of hydrogels, which can have significant implications for bone tissue engineering and other soft tissue applications.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2112, Grant title: Wilkinson CC2112)