Tough bonding of hydrogels to diverse non-porous surfaces

Hyunwoo Yuk, Teng Zhang, Shaoting Lin, German Alberto Parada, Xuanhe Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

815 Scopus citations


In many animals, the bonding of tendon and cartilage to bone is extremely tough (for example, interfacial toughness ∼800 J m-2; refs,), yet such tough interfaces have not been achieved between synthetic hydrogels and non-porous surfaces of engineered solids. Here, we report a strategy to design tough transparent and conductive bonding of synthetic hydrogels containing 90% water to non-porous surfaces of diverse solids, including glass, silicon, ceramics, titanium and aluminium. The design strategy is to anchor the long-chain polymer networks of tough hydrogels covalently to non-porous solid surfaces, which can be achieved by the silanation of such surfaces. Compared with physical interactions, the chemical anchorage results in a higher intrinsic work of adhesion and in significant energy dissipation of bulk hydrogel during detachment, which lead to interfacial toughness values over 1,000 J m-2. We also demonstrate applications of robust hydrogel-solid hybrids, including hydrogel superglues, mechanically protective hydrogel coatings, hydrogel joints for robotic structures and robust hydrogel-metal conductors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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