Exploiting the role of nanoparticle shape in enhancing hydrogel adhesive and mechanical properties

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Maria Inam
  • Zehua Li
  • Abbie Binch
  • Christopher I Platt
  • Stephen M. Richardson
  • Judith A Hoyland

Colleges, School and Institutes


The ability to control nanostructure shape and dimensions presents opportunities to design materials in which their macroscopic properties are dependent upon the nature of the nanoparticle. Although particle morphology has been recognized as a crucial parameter, the exploitation of the potential shape-dependent properties has, to date, been limited. Herein, we demonstrate that nanoparticle shape is a critical consideration in the determination of nanocomposite hydrogel properties. Using translationally relevant calcium-alginate hydrogels, we show that the use of poly(L-lactide)-based nanoparticles with platelet morphology as an adhesive results in a significant enhancement of adhesion over nanoparticle glues comprised of spherical or cylindrical micelles. Furthermore, gel nanocomposites containing platelets showed an enhanced resistance to breaking under strain compared to their spherical and cylindrical counterparts. This study opens the doors to a change in direction in the field of gel nanocomposites, where nanoparticle shape plays an important role in tuning mechanical properties


Original languageEnglish
Article number1420
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2020


  • Nanoparticle, Hydrogel, Micelles, Nanocomposite, Shape