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Anisotropic dehydration of hydrogel surfaces

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Georgia Kaklamani
  • David Cheneler
  • Liam M Grover
  • Michael J Adams
  • Spiros H Anastasiadis
  • James Bowen
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Progress in Biomaterials
Issue number4
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)157-164
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date23/10/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Efforts to develop tissue-engineered skin for regenerative medicine have explored natural, synthetic, and hybrid hydrogels. The creation of a bilayer material, with the stratification exhibited by native skin, is a complex problem. The mechanically robust, waterproof epidermis presents the stratum corneum at the tissue/air interface, which confers many of these protective properties. In this work, we explore the effect of high temperatures on alginate hydrogels, which are widely employed for tissue engineering due to their excellent mechanical properties and cellular compatibility. In particular, we investigate the rapid dehydration of the hydrogel surface which occurs following local exposure to heated surfaces with temperatures in the range 100-200 °C. We report the creation of a mechanically strengthened hydrogel surface, with improved puncture resistance and increased coefficient of friction, compared to an unheated surface. The use of a mechanical restraint during heating promoted differences in the rate of mass loss; the rate of temperature increase within the hydrogel, in the presence and absence of restraint, is simulated and discussed. It is hoped that the results will be of use in the development of processes suitable for preparing skin-like analogues; application areas could include wound healing and skin restoration.