Double network hydrogels are tough synthetic gels consisting of two-interpenetrating networks. The recoverability of double network hydrogels from loading and unloading is improved in this hot paper by synthesising hydrogels using an ionically cross-linked network and a covalently cross-linked network. The authors prepare hydrogels consisting of ionically cross-linked Gellan gum (a naturally occurring anionic polysaccharide) and covalently cross-linked poly(acrylamide). The new hydrogel shows improved mechanical properties and can almost completely recover from subsequent loading-unloading cycles with respect to the second compressive cycle.
(Soft Matter, 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26745D, Advanced Article). Read for free until October 12th.