Strain-Stiffening of Agarose Gels

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Bertula , K , Martikainen , L , Munne , P , Hietala , S , Klefström , J , Ikkala , O & Nonappa , D 2019 , ' Strain-Stiffening of Agarose Gels ' , Acs macro letters , vol. 8 , no. 6 , pp. 670-675 . https://doi.org/10.1021/acsmacrolett.9b00258

Title: Strain-Stiffening of Agarose Gels
Author: Bertula, Kia; Martikainen, Lahja; Munne, Pauliina; Hietala, Sami; Klefström, Juha; Ikkala, Olli; Nonappa, Dr.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, CAN-PRO - Translational Cancer Medicine Program
University of Helsinki, Department of Chemistry
University of Helsinki, CAN-PRO - Translational Cancer Medicine Program
Date: 2019-06
Language: eng
Number of pages: 11
Belongs to series: Acs macro letters
ISSN: 2161-1653
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/304522
Abstract: Strain-stiffening is one of the characteristic properties of biological hydrogels and extracellular matrices, where the stiffness increases upon increased deformation. Whereas strain-stiffening is ubiquitous in protein-based materials, it has been less observed for polysaccharide and synthetic polymer gels. Here we show that agarose, that is, a common linear polysaccharide, forms helical fibrillar bundles upon cooling from aqueous solution. The hydrogels with these semiflexible fibrils show pronounced strain-stiffening. However, to reveal strain-stiffening, suppressing wall slippage turned as untrivial. Upon exploring different sample preparation techniques and rheological architectures, the cross-hatched parallel plate geometries and in situ gelation in the rheometer successfully prevented the slippage and resolved the strain-stiffening behavior. Combining with microscopy, we conclude that strain-stiffening is due to the semiflexible nature of the agarose fibrils and their geometrical connectivity, which is below the central-force isostatic critical connectivity. The biocompatibility and the observed strain-stiffening suggest the potential of agarose hydrogels in biomedical applications.
Subject: NEGATIVE NORMAL STRESS
NONLINEAR ELASTICITY
WALL SLIP
MECHANICAL-PROPERTIES
HYDROGELS
NETWORKS
ELASTOMERS
116 Chemical sciences
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