Special Issue "Research Advances in Natural Polymer-Based Hydrogels"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Advanced Composites".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Diana Ciolacu
Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Polymer Physical Chemistry, "Petru Poni" Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Iasi, Romania
Interests: cellulose; hydrogel; cross-linking; nanocellulose; lignin; polyssacharides; drug release

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Hydrogels have tremendous potential in various applications because of their high water content, softness, flexibility, tunable physical and mechanical properties, relatively low cytotoxicity, and increased biocompatibility. The current trend in designing natural-based hydrogels is focused on improving the manufacturing process by using non-toxic cross-linking agents or safe chemical processes, and by getting products that respond to the current environmental and health concerns. There is a visible tendency to use more environmentally friendly materials for the preparation of hydrogels, and natural polymers provide promising opportunities for both fundamental and applied research.

In this regard, it is our pleasure to invite you to contribute full papers, review articles, and short communications to the upcoming Special Issue of Materials, which focuses on the recent advances and developments related to the natural polymer-based hydrogels, with particular attention to engineering and biomedical applications.

We welcome any submissions related to the three-dimensional (3D) structure of hydrogels prepared using physical or chemical cross-linking reactions, from natural polymers (such as polysaccharides and polypeptides) or composite hydrogels in different forms (microgels, nanogels, films, membranes, beads, etc.).

Recent progress on the design and synthesis of hydrogels and their properties, revealed by different complementary techniques, which offer insight into the structure–property relationships, as well as the challenges that need to be overcome in order to achieve applications in pharmaceutical and medical fields are also welcome. The smart behavior of natural polymer-based hydrogels that is displayed in response to external stimuli, such as pH, temperature, ionic strength, and so on, can also be discussed.

All of the features associated with engineering aspects related to the manufacture of natural-polymer-based hydrogels, such as the drug delivery systems, wound dressing, tissue engineering scaffolds, self-healing materials, or biosensors, are of particular interest to this Special Issue.

Dr. Diana Ciolacu
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • natural polymers
  • hydrogel
  • chemical cross-linking
  • composite hydrogel
  • stimuli-responsive
  • drug delivery
  • tissue engineering

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
High Mechanical Performance Based on Physically Linked Double Network (DN) Hydrogels
Materials 2019, 12(20), 3333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12203333 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
A new design strategy was proposed to improve the mechanical performance of double network (DN) hydrogels by introducing polyhydroxy compounds into the DN structure and form a physically linked double network through the interaction of hydrogen bonding. Herein, agar/poly(acrylic acid)/hydroxyethyl cellulose composite hydrogels [...] Read more.
A new design strategy was proposed to improve the mechanical performance of double network (DN) hydrogels by introducing polyhydroxy compounds into the DN structure and form a physically linked double network through the interaction of hydrogen bonding. Herein, agar/poly(acrylic acid)/hydroxyethyl cellulose composite hydrogels could be prepared by a simple one-pot method. The resulting hydrogels exhibit highly mechanical properties and excellent recoverability, which have potential applications in biomedical fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Natural Polymer-Based Hydrogels)
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication and Characterization of Low Methoxyl Pectin/Gelatin/Carboxymethyl Cellulose Absorbent Hydrogel Film for Wound Dressing Applications
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1628; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101628 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this study, hydrogel films composed of low methoxyl pectin (LMP), gelatin, and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) were fabricated. Glycerin was used as a plasticizer while glutaraldehyde (Glu) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) were used as crosslinking agents in film preparation. Hydrogel films [...] Read more.
In this study, hydrogel films composed of low methoxyl pectin (LMP), gelatin, and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) were fabricated. Glycerin was used as a plasticizer while glutaraldehyde (Glu) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) were used as crosslinking agents in film preparation. Hydrogel films were morphologically characterized and evaluated for mechanical properties. In addition, the investigations for fluid uptake ability, water retention capacity, water vapor transmission rate, and integrity value of the invented films were performed. The results showed that F-Glu-Ca-G30 film demonstrated superior properties when compared to other prepared films. It demonstrated a high percentage of elongation at break (32.80%), fluid uptake ability (88.45% at 2 h), water retention capacity (81.70% at 2 h), water vapor transmission rate (1889 g/m2/day), and integrity value (86.42%). F-Glu-Ca-G30 film was subsequently selected for 10% w/w povidone iodine (PI) loading and tested for anti-Staphylococcus aureus activity using an agar diffusion assay. Notably, F-Glu-Ca-G30-PI film demonstrated a dramatic ability to inhibit microbial growth, when compared to both a blank film and iodine solution control. Our LMP/gelatin/CMC hydrogel film promises to be an effective dressing material with high fluid absorption capacity, fluid holding ability, and water vapor transmission rate. Incorporation of antibiotics such as povidone iodine into the films conferred its antimicrobial property thereby highlighting its potential dermatological use. However, further clinical studies of the application of this hydrogel film as wound dressing material is recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Natural Polymer-Based Hydrogels)
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Open AccessArticle
Physical Hydrogels of Oxidized Polysaccharides and Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) for Wound Dressing Applications
Materials 2019, 12(9), 1569; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12091569 - 13 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Two natural polymers, i.e., cellulose and water soluble pullulan, have been selectively oxidized employing the TEMPO-mediated protocol, to allow the introduction of C6-OOH groups. Thereafter, the composite hydrogels of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and different content of the oxidized polysaccharides were prepared [...] Read more.
Two natural polymers, i.e., cellulose and water soluble pullulan, have been selectively oxidized employing the TEMPO-mediated protocol, to allow the introduction of C6-OOH groups. Thereafter, the composite hydrogels of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and different content of the oxidized polysaccharides were prepared by the freezing/thawing method. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) has been used to discuss the degree of interaction between the hydrogels constituents into the physical network. The homogeneity of the prepared hydrogels as revealed by the SEM show an excellent distribution of the oxidized polysaccharides inside the PVA matrix. The samples exhibit self-healing features, since they quickly recover the initial structure after being subjected to a large deformation. The cell viability was performed for the selected hydrogels, all of them showing promising results. The samples are able to load L-arginine both by physical phenomena, such as diffusion, and also by chemical phenomena, when imine-type bonds are likely to be formed. The synergism between the two constituents, PVA and oxidized polysaccharides, into the physical network, propose these hydrogels for many other biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Natural Polymer-Based Hydrogels)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Effect of Processing Conditions on Physical Properties of Thermally Set Cellulose Hydrogels
Materials 2019, 12(7), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12071066 - 01 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cellulose-based hydrogels were prepared by dissolving cellulose in aqueous sodium hydroxide (NaOH)/urea solutions and casting it into complex shapes by the use of sacrificial templates followed by thermal gelation of the solution. Both the gelling temperatures used (40–80 °C), as well as the [...] Read more.
Cellulose-based hydrogels were prepared by dissolving cellulose in aqueous sodium hydroxide (NaOH)/urea solutions and casting it into complex shapes by the use of sacrificial templates followed by thermal gelation of the solution. Both the gelling temperatures used (40–80 °C), as well as the method of heating by either induction in the form of a water bath and hot press or radiation by microwaves could be shown to have a significant effect on the compressive strength and modulus of the prepared hydrogels. Lower gelling temperatures and shorter heating times were found to result in stronger and stiffer gels. Both the effect of physical cross-linking via the introduction of additional non-dissolving cellulosic material, as well as chemical cross-linking by the introduction of epichlorohydrin (ECH), and a combination of both applied during the gelation process could be shown to affect both the mechanical properties and microstructure of the hydrogels. The added cellulose acts as a physical-cross-linking agent strengthening the hydrogen-bond network as well as a reinforcing phase improving the mechanical properties. However, chemical cross-linking of an unreinforced gel leads to unfavourable bonding and cellulose network formation, resulting in drastically increased pore sizes and reduced mechanical properties. In both cases, chemical cross-linking leads to larger internal pores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Natural Polymer-Based Hydrogels)
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