Functional Gels and Biopolymers

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 3635

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biofibers and Biomaterials Science, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Republic of Korea
Interests: materials design and synthesis; functional polymers; stimuli-responsive materials; additive manufacturing; biomedical; energy; sensors
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Bio-Fibers and Materials Science, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Republic of Korea
Interests: functional surfaces and interfaces of polymer and nanomaterials; polymer nanocomposite; sustainable materials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Gels and biopolymers are widely researched topics of interest, based on their superior biocompatibility and unique functionalities. Based on the material design and processing methods to prepare the materials, various functionalities (e.g., biocompatibility, biodegradability, rheological characteristics, ionic and electrical conductivity, flexibility and stretchability, and stimuli-responsive properties) can be successfully tailored, with a broad impact on research fields such as tissue engineering, drug delivery, wound dressings, sensors, electrolytes, and flexible/stretchable devices. The scope of this Special Issue is not limited to specific materials or applications, but is open to various approaches and investigations on material design, chemistry and synthesis; material characteristics; processing; and applications of various functional gels and polymeric materials.

Dr. Kyeongwoon Chung
Dr. Jaehyeung Park
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • gels
  • biopolymers
  • sustainable polymers
  • functional polymers and composites
  • gelation and post-processing
  • additive manufacturing (3D printing)
  • biomedical applications
  • energy applications
  • flexible and stretchable devices
  • sensors

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 3618 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Silk Hydrogels Prepared via Different Methods
by Jiahui Hua, Renyan Huang, Ying Huang, Shuqin Yan and Qiang Zhang
Polymers 2023, 15(22), 4419; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15224419 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Silk fibroin (SF) hydrogels have garnered extensive attention in biomedical materials, owing to their superior biological properties. However, the challenges facing the targeted silk fibroin hydrogels involve chemical agents and shortfalls in performance. In this study, the silk fibroin hydrogels were prepared in [...] Read more.
Silk fibroin (SF) hydrogels have garnered extensive attention in biomedical materials, owing to their superior biological properties. However, the challenges facing the targeted silk fibroin hydrogels involve chemical agents and shortfalls in performance. In this study, the silk fibroin hydrogels were prepared in different ways: sonication induction, chemical crosslinking, photopolymerization, and enzyme-catalyzed crosslinking. The SF hydrogels derived from photopolymerization exhibited higher compressive properties, with 124 Kpa fracture compressive stress and breaks at about 46% compression. The chemical crosslinking and enzyme-catalyzed silk fibroin hydrogels showed superior toughness, yet sonication-induced hydrogels showed brittle performance resulting from an increase in silk II crystals. The chemical-crosslinked hydrogel demonstrated lower thermostability due to the weaker crosslinking degree. In vitro, all silk fibroin hydrogels supported the growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells, as the cell viability of hydrogels without chemical agents was relatively higher. This study provides insights into the formation process of silk fibroin hydrogels and optimizes their design strategy for biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Gels and Biopolymers)
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15 pages, 4300 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Strategies for Synthesizing Lignin-Incorporated Bio-Based Waterborne Polyurethane with Tunable Characteristics
by Bo Min Kim, Jin Sil Choi, Sunjin Jang, Hyeji Park, Seung Yeol Lee, Joonhoo Jung and Jaehyeung Park
Polymers 2023, 15(19), 3987; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15193987 - 4 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
In this study, we introduce a novel approach for synthesizing lignin-incorporated castor-oil-based cationic waterborne polyurethane (CWPU-LX), diverging significantly from conventional waterborne polyurethane dispersion synthesis methods. Our innovative method efficiently reduces the required solvent quantity for CWPU-LX synthesis to approximately 50% of that employed [...] Read more.
In this study, we introduce a novel approach for synthesizing lignin-incorporated castor-oil-based cationic waterborne polyurethane (CWPU-LX), diverging significantly from conventional waterborne polyurethane dispersion synthesis methods. Our innovative method efficiently reduces the required solvent quantity for CWPU-LX synthesis to approximately 50% of that employed in traditional WBPU experimental procedures. By incorporating lignin into the polyurethane matrix using this efficient and reduced-solvent method, CWPU-LX demonstrates enhanced properties, rendering it a promising material for diverse applications. Dynamic interactions between lignin and polyurethane molecules contribute to improved mechanical properties, enhanced thermal stability, and increased solvent resistance. Dynamic interactions between lignin and polyurethane molecules contribute to improved tensile strength, up to 250% compared to CWPU samples. Furthermore, the inclusion of lignin enhanced thermal stability, showcasing a 4.6% increase in thermal decomposition temperature compared to conventional samples and increased solvent resistance to ethanol. Moreover, CWPU-LX exhibits desirable characteristics such as protection against ultraviolet light and antibacterial properties. These unique properties can be attributed to the presence of the polyphenolic group and the three-dimensional structure of lignin, further highlighting the versatility and potential of this material in various application domains. The integration of lignin, a renewable and abundant resource, into CWPU-LX exemplifies the commitment to environmentally conscious practices and underscores the significance of greener materials in achieving a more sustainable future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Gels and Biopolymers)
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16 pages, 5553 KiB  
Article
A Flexible Sensor with Excellent Environmental Stability Using Well-Designed Encapsulation Structure
by Jian Zou, Zhuo Chen, Sheng-Ji Wang, Zi-Hao Liu, Yue-Jun Liu, Pei-Yong Feng and Xin Jing
Polymers 2023, 15(10), 2308; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15102308 - 15 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1239
Abstract
The hydrogel-based sensors suffer from poor stability and low sensitivity, severely limiting their further development. It is still “a black box” to understand the effect of the encapsulation as well as the electrode on the performance of the hydrogel-based sensors. To address these [...] Read more.
The hydrogel-based sensors suffer from poor stability and low sensitivity, severely limiting their further development. It is still “a black box” to understand the effect of the encapsulation as well as the electrode on the performance of the hydrogel-based sensors. To address these problems, we prepared an adhesive hydrogel that could robustly adhere to Ecoflex (adhesive strength is 4.7 kPa) as an encapsulation layer and proposed a rational encapsulation model that fully encapsulated the hydrogel within Ecoflex. Owing to the excellent barrier and resilience of Ecoflex, the encapsulated hydrogel-based sensor can still work normally after 30 days, displaying excellent long-term stability. In addition, we performed theoretical and simulation analyses on the contact state between the hydrogel and the electrode. It was surprising to find that the contact state significantly affects the sensitivity of the hydrogel sensors (the maximum difference in sensitivity was 333.6%), indicating that the reasonable design of the encapsulation and electrode are indispensable parts for fabricating successful hydrogel sensors. Therefore, we paved the way for a novel insight to optimize the properties of the hydrogel sensors, which is greatly favorable to developing hydrogel-based sensors to be applied in various fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Gels and Biopolymers)
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