Poly 2-hydroxy ethyl methacrylate (pHEMA) is one of the most versatile hydrogels for biomedical applications due to their properties and similarities to the soft tissues of the body. Thus, it can have numerous applications, such as support for cell culture, system for controlled release of drugs, artificial articular cartilage, etc.However, the mechanical strength of hydrogels is still a parameter to be evaluated. When swollen, have mechanical properties inferior to other polymeric materials, due to the plasticizing effect of water. An alternative to improve the stiffness and elastic behavior of pHEMA is to obtain pHEMA/ silica(SiO2)nanocomposites which has silanol groups that can interact with water, increasing the hydrophilicity of the polymer matrix, and hydrophobic siloxane groups, which can reduce the degree of swelling. As a means energy absorber between the sample components, silica also can reduce heat dissipation to the environment, allowing a greater degree of crosslinking. The objective of this project therefore is to improve the mechanical properties of pHEMA hydrogels for applications in Tissue Engineering, by obtaining pHEMA/silica nanocomposites.The hybrid nanocomposites have obtained their final properties evaluated and characterized according to thermal properties (DSC), degree of swelling (EWC), crosslink density, FTIR, surface roughness (SEM) and mechanical tests of compression / indentation creep.
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