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Microstructural and mechanical characteristics of PHEMA-based nanofibre-reinforced hydrogel under compression

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journal contribution
posted on 10.03.2015, 13:51 by Weiwei Zhao, Zhijun Shi, Xiuli Chen, Guang Yang, Cristina Lenardi, Changqing Liu
Natural network-structured hydrogels (e.g. bacterial cellulose (BC)) can be synthesised with specific artificial hydrogels (e.g. poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)(PHEMA)) to form a tougher and stronger nanofibre-reinforced composite hydrogel, which possesses micro- and nano-porous structure. These synthetic hydrogels exhibit a number of advantages for biomedical applications, such as good biocompatibility and better permeability for molecules to pass through. In this paper, the mechanical properties of this nanofibre-reinforced hydrogel containing BC and PHEMA have been characterised in terms of their tangent modulus and fracture stress/strain by uniaxial compressive testing. Numerical simulations based on Mooney-Rivlin hyperelastic theory are also conducted to understand the internal stress distribution and possible failure of the nanofibre-reinforced hydrogel under compression. By comparing the mechanical characteristics of BC, PHEMA, and PHEMA-based nanofibre reinforced hydrogel (BC-PHEMA) under the compression, it is possible to develop a suitable scaffold for tissue engineering on the basis of fundamental understanding of mechanical and fracture behaviours of nanofibre-reinforced hydrogels.


The authors would like to thank the 7th European Community Framework Program for financial support through a Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) Project, entitled “Micro-Multi-Material Manufacture to Enable Multifunctional Miniaturized Devices (M6),”(Grant No. PIRSES-GA-2010-269113).



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Composites Part B


ZHAO, W. ... et al, 2015. Microstructural and mechanical characteristics of PHEMA-based nanofibre-reinforced hydrogel under compression. Composites Part B: Engineering, 76, pp.292–299.


© Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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