Nanocomposite hydrogel for adhesion under seawater

A new study describes a high-strength double network polydopamine nanocomposite hydrogel.

Various shells as a symbolic image.
Mussel-inspired strategies are used in the development of underwater adhesives.  Image source: music4life - Pixabay (symbol image).

Mussel-inspired catechol-based strategy has been widely used in the development of underwater adhesives. Nonetheless, the properties of the adhesives were still severely limited under harsh environments.

High strength in seawater

Now a facile approach was proposed to prepare a double network hydrogel adhesive with low swelling rate and high strength in seawater, where the first network was polyacrylamide (PAM) and the second network was alginate (Alg). Meanwhile, polydopamine (PDA) nanoparticles, which were formed through self-polymerisation as adhesion anchoring sites, distributed evenly throughout the double network hydrogel and effectively enhanced the adhesion capability of the hydrogel.

The properties of the resulting hydrogel have been fully characterised. The optimal adhesion strength of the hydrogel adhesive in seawater was as high as 146.84 ± 7.78 kPa. Furthermore, the hydrogel also has excellent ability to promote the growth of zooxanthellae.

The study has been published in Journal of Materials Chemistry B, Issue 36, 2020.

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