Fibre-reinforced hydrogels with high optical transparency

Jeffrey P. Maranchi, Morgana M. Trexler, Qiongyu Guo, Jennifer H. Elisseeff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Fibre-reinforced hydrogels with high optical transparency are an emerging composite material with great promise to enable new applications, such as a transparent wound dressing with custom tuned mechanical properties that provides desirable mechanical and physical properties along with optical clarity for facile wound inspection. Stand-alone hydrogels are an important class of materials comprising a cross-linked polymer network surrounded by a water matrix. However, their mechanical properties are typically very modest compared with other materials. While significant research is going on in parallel in the fields of hydrogels and reinforcement fibres, researchers are only starting to scratch the surface of the possibilities of combining the two. This report provides a review of natural and synthetic reinforcement fibre research with special emphasis placed on nanofibres. These provide the added benefit of transparency by being much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. A review of hydrogel materials is also presented. The mechanical properties, optical properties and biological functionality of hydrogel systems are also described. Ocular, load-bearing tissue, wound management and sensing/device applications are all discussed. Transparent fibre-reinforced hydrogels provide a compelling potential solution to enable advanced functionality, in particular in the wound care and optical application areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-296
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Materials Reviews
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Fibre
  • Hydrogel
  • Load bearing
  • Ocular
  • Reinforced
  • Sensing
  • Transparency
  • Wound management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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