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Open AccessArticle

A Composite Hydrogel with High Mechanical Strength, Fluorescence, and Degradable Behavior for Bone Tissue Engineering

College of biomedical engineering, Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan 030024, China
State Key Laboratory of Luminescent Materials and Devices, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Engineering of Polymers, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
Sixth Academy of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation, Hohhot 010010, China
Department of Biomedical Engineering, State University of New York at Stony Brook, New York, NY 11794, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(7), 1112;
Received: 26 April 2019 / Revised: 11 June 2019 / Accepted: 15 June 2019 / Published: 1 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogels and Gels for Biomedical and Sustainable Applications)
PDF [3284 KB, uploaded 1 July 2019]


In this work, to obtain a novel composite hydrogel with high mechanical strength, fluorescence and degradable behavior for bone tissue engineering, we prepare a nanofiller and double-network (DN) structure co-enhanced carbon dots/hydroxyapatite/poly (vinyl alcohol) (CDs/HA/PVA) DN hydrogel. The composite hydrogels are fabricated by a combination of two fabrication techniques including chemical copolymerization and freezing‒thawing cycles, and further characterized by FTIR, XRD, etc. Additional investigations focus on the mechanical properties of the hydrogel with varying mass ratios of CDs to PVA, HA to PVA and different numbers of freezing/thawing cycles. The results show that the as-prepared CDs3.0/HA0.6/PVA DN9 hydrogel has optimized compression properties (Compression strength = 3.462 MPa, Young’s modulus = 4.5 kPa). This is mainly caused by the synergism effect of the nanofiller and chemical and physical co-crosslinking. The water content and swelling ratio of the CDs/HA/PVA SN and DN gels are also systematically investigated to reveal the relationship of their microstructural features and mechanical behavior. In addition, in vitro degradation tests of the CDs/HA/PVA DN hydrogel show that the DN hydrogels have a prominent degradable behavior. So, they have potential to be used as high-strength, self-tracing bone substitutes in the biomedical engineering field. View Full-Text
Keywords: double-network; hydrogel; mechanical strength; fluorescence; degradable double-network; hydrogel; mechanical strength; fluorescence; degradable

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, Y.; Xue, Y.; Wang, J.; Zhu, Y.; Zhu, Y.; Zhang, X.; Liao, J.; Li, X.; Wu, X.; Qin, Y.-X.; Chen, W. A Composite Hydrogel with High Mechanical Strength, Fluorescence, and Degradable Behavior for Bone Tissue Engineering. Polymers 2019, 11, 1112.

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