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Mechanical properties of alginate hydrogels manufactured using external gelation

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Volume36
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)135-142
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/05/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Alginate hydrogels are commonly used in biomedical applications such as scaffolds for tissue engineering, drug delivery, and as a medium for cell immobilization. Multivalent cations are often employed to create physical crosslinks between carboxyl and hydroxyl moieties on neighbouring polysaccharide chains, creating hydrogels with a range of mechanical properties. This work describes the manufacture and characterisation of sodium alginate hydrogels using the divalent cations Mg2+, Ca2+ and Sr2+ to promote gelation via non-covalent crosslinks. The gelation time and Young's modulus are characterised as a function of cation and alginate concentrations. The implications of this work towards the use of environmental elasticity to control stem cell differentiation are discussed.