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Thermal behavior and mechanical properties of physically crosslinked PVA/Gelatin hydrogels.

Liu, Yurong; Geever, Luke M; Kennedy, James E; Higginbotham, Clement L; Cahill, Paul A; McGuinness, Garrett B.
J Mech Behav Biomed Mater; 3(2): 203-9, 2010 Feb.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20129419
Poly (vinyl alcohol)/Gelatin hydrogels are under active investigation as potential vascular cell culture biomaterials, tissue models and vascular implants. The PVA/Gelatin hydrogels are physically crosslinked by the freeze-thaw technique, which is followed by a coagulation bath treatment. In this study, the thermal behavior of the gels was examined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA). Rheological measurement and uniaxial tensile tests revealed key mechanical properties. The role of polymer fraction in relation to these mechanical properties is explored. Gelatin has no significant effect on the thermal behavior of PVA, which indicates that no substantial change occurs in the PVA crystallite due to the presence of gelatin. The glass transition temperature, melting temperature, degree of crystallinity, polymer fraction, storage modulus (G') and ultimate strength of one freeze-thaw cycle (1FT) hydrogels are inferior to those of 3FT hydrogels. With coagulation, both 1FT and 3FT hydrogels shifted to a lower value of T(g), melting temperature and polymer fraction are further increased and the degree of crystallinity is depressed. The mechanical properties of 1FT, but not 3FT, were strengthened with coagulation treatment. This study gives a detailed investigation of the microstructure formation of PVA/Gelatin hydrogel in each stage of physical treatments which helps us to explain the role of physical treatments in tuning their physical properties for biomechanical applications.