Physically crosslinked poly(vinyl alcohol) gels are versatile biomaterials due to their excellent biocompatibility. In the past decades, physically crosslinked poly(vinyl alcohol) and poly(vinyl alcohol)-based hydrogels have been extensively studied for biomedical applications. However, these materials have not yet been implemented due to their mechanical strength. Physically crosslinked poly(vinyl alcohol) gels consist of a swollen amorphous network of poly(vinyl alcohol) physically crosslinked by microcrystallites. Although the mechanical properties can be improved to some extent by controlling the distribution of microcrystallites on the nano- and micro-scales, enhancing the mechanical properties while maintaining high water content remains very difficult. It may be technologically impossible to significantly improve the mechanical properties while keeping the gel's high water absorbance ability using conventional fabrication methods. Physical and chemical understandings of the swelling and mechanical properties of physically crosslinked poly(vinyl alcohol) gels are considered here; some promising strategies for their practical applications are presented. This review focuses more on the recent studies on swelling and mechanical properties of poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels, prepared using only poly(vinyl alcohol) and pure water with no other chemicals, as potential biomedical materials.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2015|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Mechanical Engineering