Novel hydrogels containing Nafion and poly (ethylene oxide) based block copolymers

Kelarakis, Antonios orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8112-5176, Krysmann, Marta orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8036-4925 and Fernandes, Diogo Andre jardoso (2017) Novel hydrogels containing Nafion and poly (ethylene oxide) based block copolymers. Polymer, 114 . pp. 73-78. ISSN 0032-3861

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We present a novel family of biocompatible hydrogels containing Nafion and poly(ethylene oxide) based block copolymers. In aqueous environment, thermodynamically stable ionomer-copolymer complexes are formed, as evident by light scattering and quartz crystal microbalance experiments. Moreover, incorporation of Nafion dramatically modifies the phase behaviour and the rheological properties of copolymer hydrogels. The hybrid systems not only undergo sharp and thermally reversible sol-gel transitions below the body temperature, thus retaining their injectable nature, but they also generate mechanically robust hydrogels. Moreover, ibuprofen was continuously released over a period of 26 days for the Nafion/Pluronic hydrogel, compared to only 3 days for the Nafion-free system. The hybrid gels are promising candidates for 3D-bioprinting and controlled drug release applications.

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