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Boronic Acid-Based Hydrogels Undergo Self-Healing at Neutral and Acidic pH

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journal contribution
posted on 17.02.2015, 00:00 by Christopher C. Deng, William L.A. Brooks, Khalil A. Abboud, Brent S. Sumerlin
This report describes the synthesis and characterization of boronate ester-cross-linked hydrogels capable of self-healing behavior at neutral and acidic pH. This atypically wide pH range over which healing behavior is observed was achieved through the use of an intramolecular coordinating boronic acid monomer, 2-acrylamidophenylboronic acid (2APBA), where the internal coordination helped to stabilize cross-links formed at acidic and neutral pH. Two different hydrogels were formed from a 2APBA copolymer cross-linked with either poly­(vinyl alcohol) or a catechol-functionalized copolymer. The self-healing ability of these hydrogels was characterized through physical testing and rheological studies. Furthermore, the catechol cross-linked hydrogel was shown to be oxygen sensitive, demonstrating reduced self-healing and stress relaxation after partial oxidation. The synthesis of these hydrogels demonstrates a new strategy to produce boronic acid materials capable of self-healing at physiological pH.

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