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Polymers 2016, 8(4), 106;

Interpenetration of Natural Polymer Aerogels by Supercritical Drying

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jianxun Ding
Received: 8 January 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymers for Medical Applications)
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Natural polymers, such as alginate and gelatin, can be used to produce scaffolds for tissue engineering applications; but, their mechanical and biochemical performance should be improved. A possible solution to obtain this result, is the generation of multi-component scaffolds, by blending two or more polymers. One way to realize it, is the formation of an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN). In this work, the interpenetration of alginate and gelatin hydrogels has been successfully obtained and preserved by supercritical CO2 (SC-CO2) drying performed at 200 bar and 35 °C, using different blend compositions: from alginate/gelatin = 20:80 v/v to alginate/gelatin = 80:20 v/v. The process allowed modulation of morphology and mechanical properties of these blends. The overall result was made possible by the supercritical drying process that, working at zero surface tension, allows preserving the hydrogels nanostructure in the corresponding aerogels. View Full-Text
Keywords: alginate; gelatin; aerogel; biomaterials; supercritical drying alginate; gelatin; aerogel; biomaterials; supercritical drying

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Baldino, L.; Concilio, S.; Cardea, S.; Reverchon, E. Interpenetration of Natural Polymer Aerogels by Supercritical Drying. Polymers 2016, 8, 106.

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