Anisotropic magnetic hydrogels: design, structure and mechanical properties
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AuthorGila Vilchez, Cristina; Mañas Torres, María del Carmen; Contreras-Montoya, Rafael; Alaminos Mingorance, Miguel; Durán, Juan D. G.; Álvarez Cienfuegos Rodríguez, Luis; López López, Modesto Torcuato
magnetic hydrogelsmagnetic particlesmicrostructurepolymersrheologyanisotropyhidrogeles magnéticospartículas magnéticasreologíapolímerosanisotropía
Anisotropy is an intrinsic feature of most of the human tissues (e.g. muscle, skin or cartilage). Because of this, there has been an intense effort in the search of methods for the induction of permanent anisotropy in hydrogels intended for biomedical applications. The dispersion of magnetic particles or beads in the hydrogel precursor solution prior to cross-linking, in combination with applied magnetic fields, which gives rise to columnar structures, is one of the most recently proposed approaches for this goal. We have gone even further and, in this paper, we show that it is possible to use magnetic particles as actuators for the alignment of the polymer chains in order to obtain anisotropic hydrogels. Furthermore, we characterize the microstructural arrangement and mechanical properties of the resulting hydrogels. This article is part of a theme issue ‘Heterogeneous materials: metastable and non-ergodic internal structures’.