A novel material design was developed by functionalizing a biocompatible hydrogel material with organic boundary lubricants. Polyvinyl alcohol was functionalized with varying molar ratios of 0.2, 0.5, and 1.0 moles of lauroyl chloride. Tribological and mechanical characterization was performed by means of nanofriction testing and nanoindentation to determine the influence of the hydrocarbon chains on the friction coefficient and elastic modulus of the hydrogels. It was found that fusing of the lubricant to the polymer material has a positive effect on the surface friction properties, yet an unfavorable effect on stiffness properties of the gel due to the processing method.
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