Associate Prof. Yukikazu Takeoka and his research group at the Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University invented extremely stretchable, highly tough and strong hydrogels using novel, freely movable polyrotaxane cross-linkers. In addition, the response speed of the stimuli-sensitive hydrogels prepared using the cross-linkers is dramatically enhanced when compared with that of conventional polymer gels.
Conventional polymer gels typically exhibit slow responses and are mechanically brittle. Consequently, it has been difficult to apply them in practical applications using changes in volume and surface area that occur in conventional polymer gels. With their improved properties, the new stimuli-sensitive hydrogels should be suitable for various practical applications, including artificial muscles, drug delivery systems, sensors, and culture beds for regenerative medicine.
This research was published in the international academic journal "Nature Communications(electronic version)" in the United Kingdom on October 8, 2014.