An anti-freezing biomineral hydrogel of high strain sensitivity for artificial skin applications

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6655–6661
Number of pages7
Journal / PublicationNano Research
Issue number7
Online published22 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


Mineral hydrogels have caught a lot of attention for their strong competency as artificial skin-like materials. Nonetheless, it remains a great difficulty in fulfilling in one hydrogel system a range of key functionalities that are needed for practical artificial skin applications, i.e., to be biocompatible, strain-sensitive, ion-conductive, elastic and robust, anti-swelling, and anti-freezing. Here we present a such type of versatile hydrogel that is not only capable to deliver all the above-mentioned key functionalities but also highly stable. This novel hydrogel is constructed by introducing a gelatinous and amorphous multi-ionic biomineral (denoted as Mg-ACCP, containing Mg2+, Ca2+, CO32−, and PO43−) into the network of biocompatible polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and sodium alginate (SA). The presence of Mg2+ and PO43− in this hydrogel helps prohibit the crystallization of the biominerals, leading to significantly improved stability. The hydrogel thus obtained delivers excellent mechanical performance due to the chelation between the mineral ions and the organic matrix, and high sensitivity even to subtle pressure and strain applied, such as slight finger bending and gentle tapping. Furthermore, the novel hydrogel features high ionic conductivity, high resistance to swelling, and extraordinary anti-freezing property, holding great promise for applications in different practical scenarios, particularly in aqueous or cold environments.

Research Area(s)

  • artificial skin, biominerals, mechanical performance, mineral hydrogel

Citation Format(s)