Adaptive and freeze-tolerant heteronetwork organohydrogels with enhanced mechanical stability over a wide temperature range

Hainan Gao, Ziguang Zhao, Yudong Cai, Jiajia Zhou, Wenda Hua, Lie Chen, Li Wang, Jianqi Zhang, Dong Han, Mingjie Liu, Lei Jiang

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242 Citations (Scopus)


Many biological organisms with exceptional freezing tolerance can resist the damages to cells from extra-/intracellular ice crystals and thus maintain their mechanical stability at subzero temperatures. Inspired by the freezing tolerance mechanisms found in nature, here we report a strategy of combining hydrophilic/oleophilic heteronetworks to produce self-adaptive, freeze-tolerant and mechanically stable organohydrogels. The organohydrogels can simultaneously use water and oil as a dispersion medium, and quickly switch between hydrogel- and organogel-like behaviours in response to the nature of the surrounding phase. Accordingly, their surfaces display unusual adaptive dual superlyophobic in oil/water system (that is, they are superhydrophobic under oil and superoleophobic under water). Moreover, the organogel component can inhibit the ice crystallization of the hydrogel component, thus enhancing the mechanical stability of organohydrogel over a wide temperature range (-78 to 80 °C). The organohydrogels may have promising applications in complex and harsh environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15911
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

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