Doubly-crosslinked, emulsion-templated hydrogels through reversible metal coordination

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Double crosslinking can be used to significantly improve the mechanical properties of gels. Here, doubly-crosslinked hydrogel polyHIPEs (DC-PHs), which exhibited rapid water absorption, enhanced mechanical properties, and shape memory behaviour, were generated by forming metal coordination crosslinks within covalently crosslinked hydrogel polyHIPEs (HG-PHs), hydrogels formed by templating within oil-in-water high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs). The HG-PHs were based on acrylamide (AAm) and sodium acrylate (NaA), which provided −COO groups, and were covalently crosslinked with N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide. The metal coordination crosslinking between the −COO groups and Fe3+ was generated by adding FeCl3 to the HG-PHs. The interconnected macroporous structures and the rapid water absorption of the HG-PHs were preserved in the DC-PHs, while the mechanical properties, in both the swollen and dry states, were significantly enhanced. The metal coordination crosslinking was easily removed through the light-induced reduction of the Fe3+ in the presence of citric acid. The reversibility of the metal coordination crosslinking endowed the DC-PHs with a multiple-cycle shape memory behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-394
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2017


  • Absorption
  • Hydrogel polyHIPEs
  • Metal coordination
  • Reversible crosslinking
  • Shape memory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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