Author(s): Metters AT, Anseth KS, Bowman CN
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Abstract Through intelligent control of monomer chemistry and gelling techniques, biodegradable hydrogels with a range of mechanical strengths and degradation timescales have been constructed. A diacrylated, copoly(ethylene glycol-b-dl-lactic acid) (PEG-b-PLA) macromer was used to produce synthetic networks with equilibrium water contents (EWC) above 70\% and initial compressive moduli values exceeding 1 MPa, demonstrating its viability as a cartilage replacement material. Experiments have shown that the mechanical strengths, EWCs, and useful lifetimes of these water-swellable networks are coupled to their copolymer chemistry as well as their processing conditions. A systematic study utilizing photopolymerized gels has been undertaken to elucidate the controlling factors behind the bulk-degradation process, as well as monitor changes in network structure with degradation. A statistical model will be used in conjunction with the experimental data to explain the exponential modulus decay and complex mass loss behavior observed during degradation for these hydrogels.
This article was published in Biomed Sci Instrum
and referenced in Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology