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Can the Wet – State Conductivity of Hydrogels be Improved by Incorporation of Spherical Conducting Nanoparticles?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

Katharina Schirmer
Affiliation:
ARC Centre for Electromaterials Science and Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Australia
Cody Wright
Affiliation:
ARC Centre for Electromaterials Science and Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Australia
Holly Warren
Affiliation:
ARC Centre of Electromaterials Science and Soft Materials Group, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Australia
Brianna Thompson
Affiliation:
ARC Centre for Electromaterials Science and Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Australia School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Anita Quigley
Affiliation:
ARC Centre for Electromaterials Science and Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Australia Department of Clinical Neurosciences, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne and Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Robert Kapsa
Affiliation:
ARC Centre for Electromaterials Science and Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Australia Department of Clinical Neurosciences, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne and Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Gordon Wallace
Affiliation:
ARC Centre for Electromaterials Science and Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, AIIM Facility, Innovation Campus, University of Wollongong, Australia
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Abstract

In nerve and muscle regeneration applications, the incorporation of conducting elements into biocompatible materials has gained interest over the last few years, as it has been shown that electrical stimulation of some regenerating cells has a positive effect on their development. A variety of different materials, ranging from graphene to conducting polymers, have been incorporated into hydrogels and increased conductivities have been reported. However, the majority of conductivity measurements are performed in a dry state, even though material blends are designed for applications in a wet state, in vivo environment. The focus of this work is to use polypyrrole nanoparticles to increase the wet–state conductivity of alginate to produce a conducting, easily processable, cell–supporting composite material. Characterization and purification of the conducting polymer nanoparticle dispersions, as well as electrochemical measurements, have been performed to assess conductivity of the nanoparticles and hydrogel composites in the wet state, in order to determine whether filling an ionically conducting hydrogel with electrically conductive nanoparticles will enhance the conductivity. It was determined that the introduction of spherical nanoparticles into alginate gel does not increase, but rather slightly reduces conductivity of the hydrogel in the wet state.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2014 

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Can the Wet – State Conductivity of Hydrogels be Improved by Incorporation of Spherical Conducting Nanoparticles?
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