Bundle formation in biomimetic hydrogels

M. Jaspers, A.C.H. Pape, I.K. Voets, A.E. Rowan, G. Portale, P.H.J. Kouwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
362 Downloads (Pure)


Bundling of single polymer chains is a crucial process in the formation of biopolymer network gels that make up the extracellular matrix and the cytoskeleton. This bundled architecture leads to gels with distinctive properties, including a large-pore-size gel formation at very low concentrations and mechanical responsiveness through nonlinear mechanics, properties that are rarely observed in synthetic hydrogels. Using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), we study the bundle formation and hydrogelation process of polyisocyanide gels, a synthetic material that uniquely mimics the structure and mechanics of biogels. We show how the structure of the material changes at the (thermally induced) gelation point and how factors such as concentration and polymer length determine the architecture, and with that, the mechanical properties. The correlation of the gel mechanics and the structural parameters obtained from SAXS experiments is essential in the design of future (synthetic) mimics of biopolymer networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2642–2649
Number of pages8
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2016


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