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      Biomimetic Mineralized Organic–Inorganic Hybrid Macrofiber with Spider Silk‐Like Supertoughness

      1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 2
      Advanced Functional Materials
      Wiley

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          Highly stretchable and tough hydrogels.

          Hydrogels are used as scaffolds for tissue engineering, vehicles for drug delivery, actuators for optics and fluidics, and model extracellular matrices for biological studies. The scope of hydrogel applications, however, is often severely limited by their mechanical behaviour. Most hydrogels do not exhibit high stretchability; for example, an alginate hydrogel ruptures when stretched to about 1.2 times its original length. Some synthetic elastic hydrogels have achieved stretches in the range 10-20, but these values are markedly reduced in samples containing notches. Most hydrogels are brittle, with fracture energies of about 10 J m(-2) (ref. 8), as compared with ∼1,000 J m(-2) for cartilage and ∼10,000 J m(-2) for natural rubbers. Intense efforts are devoted to synthesizing hydrogels with improved mechanical properties; certain synthetic gels have reached fracture energies of 100-1,000 J m(-2) (refs 11, 14, 17). Here we report the synthesis of hydrogels from polymers forming ionically and covalently crosslinked networks. Although such gels contain ∼90% water, they can be stretched beyond 20 times their initial length, and have fracture energies of ∼9,000 J m(-2). Even for samples containing notches, a stretch of 17 is demonstrated. We attribute the gels' toughness to the synergy of two mechanisms: crack bridging by the network of covalent crosslinks, and hysteresis by unzipping the network of ionic crosslinks. Furthermore, the network of covalent crosslinks preserves the memory of the initial state, so that much of the large deformation is removed on unloading. The unzipped ionic crosslinks cause internal damage, which heals by re-zipping. These gels may serve as model systems to explore mechanisms of deformation and energy dissipation, and expand the scope of hydrogel applications.
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            Bioinspired structural materials.

            Natural structural materials are built at ambient temperature from a fairly limited selection of components. They usually comprise hard and soft phases arranged in complex hierarchical architectures, with characteristic dimensions spanning from the nanoscale to the macroscale. The resulting materials are lightweight and often display unique combinations of strength and toughness, but have proven difficult to mimic synthetically. Here, we review the common design motifs of a range of natural structural materials, and discuss the difficulties associated with the design and fabrication of synthetic structures that mimic the structural and mechanical characteristics of their natural counterparts.
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              Molecular-Level Dispersion of Graphene into Poly(vinyl alcohol) and Effective Reinforcement of their Nanocomposites

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Advanced Functional Materials
                Adv. Funct. Mater.
                Wiley
                1616-301X
                1616-3028
                December 03 2019
                February 2020
                November 27 2019
                February 2020
                : 30
                : 6
                : 1908556
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of ChemistryZhejiang University Hangzhou Zhejiang 310027 China
                [2 ]State Key Laboratory for Silicon MaterialsZhejiang University Hangzhou Zhejiang 310027 China
                Article
                10.1002/adfm.201908556
                a4f9064b-c77c-4029-a955-d51fdb24f1aa
                © 2020

                http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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