Tough photocrosslinked silk fibroin/graphene oxide nanocomposite hydrogels

Balu, R, Reeder, S, Knott, R, Mata, J, de Campo, L, Dutta, N and Choudhury, N 2018, 'Tough photocrosslinked silk fibroin/graphene oxide nanocomposite hydrogels', Langmuir, vol. 34, no. 31, pp. 9238-9251.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Tough photocrosslinked silk fibroin/graphene oxide nanocomposite hydrogels
Author(s) Balu, R
Reeder, S
Knott, R
Mata, J
de Campo, L
Dutta, N
Choudhury, N
Year 2018
Journal name Langmuir
Volume number 34
Issue number 31
Start page 9238
End page 9251
Total pages 14
Publisher American Chemical Society
Abstract The development of protein-based hydrogels for tissue engineering applications is often limited by their mechanical properties. Herein, we present the facile fabrication of tough regenerated silk fibroin (RSF)/graphene oxide (GO) nanocomposite hydrogels by a photochemical cross-linking method. The RSF/GO composite hydrogels demonstrated soft and adhesive properties during initial stages of photocrosslinking (<2 min), which is not observed for the pristine RSF hydrogel, and rendered a tough and nonadhesive hydrogel upon complete cross-linking (10 min). The composite hydrogels exhibited superior tensile mechanical properties, increased β-sheet content, and decreased chain mobility compared to that of the pristine RSF hydrogels. The composite hydrogels demonstrated Young's modulus as high as ∼8 MPa, which is significantly higher than native cartilage (∼1.5 MPa), and tensile toughness as high as ∼2.4 MJ/m3, which is greater than that of electroactive polymer muscles and at par with RSF/GO composite membranes fabricated by layer-by-layer assembly. Small-angle scattering study reveals the hierarchical structure of photocrosslinked RSF hydrogels to comprise randomly distributed water-poor (hydrophobic) and water-rich (hydrophilic) regions at the nanoscale, whereas water pores and channels exhibiting fractal-like characteristics at the microscale. The size of hydrophobic domain (containing β-sheets) was observed to increase slightly with GO incorporation and/or alcohol post-treatment, whereas the size of the hydrophilic domain (intersheet distance containing random coils) was observed to increase significantly, which influences/affects water uptake capacity, cross-link density, and mechanical properties of hydrogels. The presented results have implications for both fundamental understanding of the structure-property relationship of RSF-based hydrogels and their technological applications.
Subject Nanobiotechnology
Functional Materials
DOI - identifier 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b01141
Copyright notice Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society
ISSN 0743-7463
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