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Open AccessArticle

Physical Interactions Strengthen Chemical Gelatin Methacryloyl Gels

Institute of Interfacial Process Engineering and Plasma Technology IGVP, University of Stuttgart, Nobelstr. 12, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Nobelstr. 12, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 October 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 12 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tough Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications)
PDF [1571 KB, uploaded 17 January 2019]


Chemically cross-linkable gelatin methacryloyl (GM) derivatives are getting increasing attention regarding biomedical applications. Thus, thorough investigations are needed to achieve full understanding and control of the physico-chemical behavior of these promising biomaterials. We previously introduced gelatin methacryloyl acetyl (GMA) derivatives, which can be used to control physical network formation (solution viscosity, sol-gel transition) independently from chemical cross-linking by variation of the methacryloyl-to-acetyl ratio. It is known that temperature dependent physical network formation significantly influences the mechanical properties of chemically cross-linked GM hydrogels. We investigated the temperature sensitivity of GM derivatives with different degrees of modification (GM2, GM10), or similar degrees of modification but different methacryloyl contents (GM10, GM2A8). Rheological analysis showed that the low modified GM2 forms strong physical gels upon cooling while GM10 and GM2A8 form soft or no gels. Yet, compression testing revealed that all photo cross-linked GM(A) hydrogels were stronger if cooling was applied during hydrogel preparation. We suggest that the hydrophobic methacryloyl and acetyl residues disturb triple helix formation with increasing degree of modification, but additionally form hydrophobic structures, which facilitate chemical cross-linking. View Full-Text
Keywords: compression testing; physical and chemical network; hybrid network compression testing; physical and chemical network; hybrid network

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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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Rebers, L.; Granse, T.; Tovar, G.E.; Southan, A.; Borchers, K. Physical Interactions Strengthen Chemical Gelatin Methacryloyl Gels. Gels 2019, 5, 4.

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