cartilage-inspired, fiber-enhanced, composite hydrogel, high strength, good toughness, lubrication, load-bearing, wear-resistance


Hydrogels as one kind of soft materials with a typical three-dimensional (3D) hydrophilic network have been getting great attention in the field of biolubrication. However, traditional hydrogels commonly show poor tribology performance under high-load conditions because of their poor mechanical strength and toughness. Herein, pure chemical-crosslinking hydrogels mixed with different types of the micron-scale fibers can meet the requirements of strength and toughness for biolubrication materials, meanwhile the corresponding tribology performance improves significantly. In a typical case, three kinds of reinforcement matrix including needle-punched fibers, alginate fibers, and cottons are separately combined with Poly(n-vinyl pyrrolidone)-poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (PVP-PHEMA) hydrogels to prepare fibers reinforced composite hydrogels. The experimental results show that the mechanical properties of fibers reinforced composite hydrogels improve greatly comparable with pure PVP-PHEMA hydrogels. Among three kinds of fibers reinforced composite hydrogel, the as-prepared composite hydrogels reinforced with needle-punched fibers possess the best strength, modulus, and anti-tearing properties. Friction tests indicate that the fibers reinforced composite hydrogels demonstrate stable water-lubrication performance comparable with pure PVP-PHEMA hydrogels. Besides, the hydrogel-spunlace fiber samples show the best load-bearing and anti-wear capacities. The improved tribology performance of the composite hydrogels is highly related to mechanical property and the interaction between the fibers and hydrogel network. Finally, spunlace fibers reinforced hydrogel materials with high load-bearing and low friction properties are expected to be used as novel biomimetic lubrication materials.


Tsinghua University Press

Included in

Tribology Commons