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Editable and bidirectional shape memory chitin hydrogels based on physical/chemical crosslinking

  • Kunkun Zhu
  • Jinlian HuEmail author
  • Lina Zhang
Original Research


Advances in soft robotics have enabled rapid progress in shape memory hydrogels, including unidirectional, bidirectional and multidirectional shape memory hydrogels. However, shape memory hydrogels with editable feature have hardly been reported. Here, chitin based bilayer hydrogels were prepared based on alkali/urea aqueous system. Due to the different swelling properties of the two layers, namely physical crosslinking layer and chemical crosslinking layer, the hydrogels can bend toward opposite direction in water and ethanol, showing a bidirectional shape memory behavior. Meanwhile, this bidirectional shape memory hydrogels can be programmed to different shapes with external force after immerging in alkali solution as a result of the hydrogen bond breakage and reformation via hydroxyl ion, displaying an editable feature. We believe that the editable and bidirectional shape memory chitin bilayer hydrogels have great potential in soft robotics.

Graphic abstract


Shape memory hydrogel Editable Bidirectional Chitin Alkali/urea system 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51373147 and 51673162).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of New Textile Materials and Advanced Processing TechnologiesWuhan Textile UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Institute of Textiles and ClothingThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung Hom, KowloonChina
  3. 3.College of Chemistry and Molecular SciencesWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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