Title of Proposal
Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education
Bachelor of Science
Date of Graduation
Hydrogels are polymer networks with a large water content. Uses include biomedical applications like drug delivery, wound dressing, and more. Current natural hydrogels lack mechanical robustness. Squid ringed teeth (completely protein) have a modulus comparable to thermoplastics; adding this to hydrogels could improve modulus while maintaining biocompatibility.
Three experiments were performed: Hofmeister solubility study, SRT powder additive, and SRT aqueous solution. The first showed that LiCl solution without acetic acid dissolved the most SRT; overall LiCl dissolved more than all others. SRT as a powder additive increased the modulus of the hydrogels, however the error in the measurements make it difficult to make definitive conclusions. The addition of powdered SRT increases the modulus of gelatin hydrogels ~6 to ~8 kPa. The SRT solution studies showed that increasing the SRT content and longer setting time increase modulus of the gels, however the error is large and definite conclusions cannot be made.
Multiple things could be investigated to draw stronger conclusions. Investigation of LiCl and other salts to increase SRT solubility may be of interest. Redesigning the indentation method for determining modulus would be advantageous. The current method involves large error; an automated method may provide more consistent results.
Dr. Bimin Newby
Dr. Jie Zheng
Dr. Lu-Kwang Ju
Furniss, Autumn, "Optimization of Conditions for Production of Mechanically Strong Suckerin Protein Hydrogels" (2019). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 876.