Researchers from the Hokkaido University developed a material from hydrogel that can be used in biomaterials. This research, led by Professor Jian Ping Gong, resulted in the making of a material that is the strongest and most reliable material for long term use among biomaterials.
The research was made in the Cabinet Office’s Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT).
There was a need for bendable but tough materials in the biomaterial industry. Thus, the team used hydrogels that are made of water with glass fiber fabric. After several combinations, a combination of the polyampholyte and another hydrogel created the perfect structure for the material in need. Not only that but the making of the material is very simple as the process is polymerization.
When the material was tested, it was found that the fiber-induced hydrogel was 25 times stronger than a regular glass fiber fabric and 100 times stronger than a regular hydrogel. The team suggests that the reason for the material’s toughness is the ionic bonds that are formed between the fibers and hydrogels. The material is also tougher than a carbon steel. Regarding the hydrogels, Dr. Jian Ping Gong commented:
“The fiber-reinforced hydrogels, with a 40 percent water level, are environmentally friendly. The material has multiple potential applications because of its reliability, durability and flexibility. For example, in addition to fashion and manufacturing uses, it could be used as artificial ligaments and tendons, which are subject to strong load-bearing tensions.”
The new aim for the team is to apply this technology to softer and less resilient structures like rubber.