New Project: Mechanical Characterization of Hydrogels
Hydrogels are hydrated hydrophilic polymer networks that are either chemically or physically crosslinked. These materials are extremely biocompatible, but the greatest weakness in adopting hydrogel materials for medical applications is their poor mechanical properties. We’ve been developing new methods both for measuring their mechanical properties and for analyzing the collected data within poroelastic and poroviscoelastic frameworks.
New Project: Hydrogel Composites for Tissue Engineering
One way to improve the mechanical properties of any material is to combine it with a second material to form a composite. Hydrogel composites can be double networks at the molecular level, reinforced with particles, or reinforced with fibrils. Nano-scale electrospun fibrils are particularly attractive for this application, as the combination of these fibrils with a hydrogel matrix makes for a very good soft tissue mimic.