Topological cyclodextrin nanoparticles as crosslinkers for self-healing tough hydrogels as strain sensors

Carbohydr Polym. 2021 Jul 15;264:117978. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2021.117978. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Abstract

Hydrogels have been widely used for various applications, and thus addressing the challenges associated with the design of sustainable hydrogels has become an important issue. However, little attention has been devoted toward the design of crosslinkers which are often toxic, lack self-healing capabilities, and derived from petrochemicals. Herein, novel cyclodextrin topological nanoparticles (TNPs) have been constructed. These TNPs were found to possess crosslinking capabilities and the corresponding TNPs-crosslinked hydrogels showed excellent mechanical performances with a high stretchability of 1860 % and stress of 180 kPa and good anti-fatigue abilities. These hydrogels could be readily recycled and used for modular assembly and disassembly in various shapes and could serve as flexible strain sensors to monitor human activities with a sensing range of 0-1800 %, controllable sensitivity, and good fatigue resistance. These topological nanoparticles can inspire the design of novel physical crosslinkers for novel flexible strain sensors, tough and self-healing hydrogels, and soft robotics.

Keywords: Crosslinkers; Flexible sensors; Hydrogel; Sustainable; Topological nanoparticles.