Cellulose hydrogel with Achilles tendon-like super strength

Researchers at ICReDD and Hokkaido University have reported a method for fabricating cellulose hydrogels that have a fracture stress and Young’s modulus that is comparable to that of an Achilles tendon.

The improvement in strength was achieved by using cellulose gels that had first been prepared with ethanol as the anti-solvent, then dried, and then re-swelled with water. The use of ethanol resulted in a looser network of cellulose fibers that could be ordered in the same direction via the drying in confined condition (DCC) method. It was found this ordering resulted in an increase in fracture stress while maintaining high levels of toughness. This advancement could expand the potential applications of such biopolymer-based hydrogels in tissue engineering and soft electronics.

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