Self-healing hydrogels



Publication Details

Taylor, D. Lynne. & in het Panhuis, M. (2016). Self-healing hydrogels. Advanced Materials, 28 (41), 9060-9093.


Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of interest in the development of hydrogel materials with tunable structural, mechanical, and rheological properties, which exhibit rapid and autonomous self-healing and self-recovery for utilization in a broad range of applications, from soft robotics to tissue engineering. However, self-healing hydrogels generally either possess mechanically robust or rapid self-healing properties but not both. Hence, the development of a mechanically robust hydrogel material with autonomous self-healing on the time scale of seconds is yet to be fully realized. Here, the current advances in the development of autonomous self-healing hydrogels are reviewed. Specifically, methods to test self-healing efficiencies and recoveries, mechanisms of autonomous self-healing, and mechanically robust hydrogels are presented. The trends indicate that hydrogels that self-heal better also achieve self-healing faster, as compared to gels that only partially self-heal. Recommendations to guide future development of self-healing hydrogels are offered and the potential relevance of self-healing hydrogels to the exciting research areas of 3D/4D printing, soft robotics, and assisted health technologies is highlighted.

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