4-arm poly(ethylene glycol) end-capped with mimics of adhesive moiety found in mussel adhesive protein, dopamine, was combined with a biocompatible nano-silicate, Laponite, in creating a nanocomposite hydrogel with improved materials and adhesive properties. Dopamine’s ability to form both irreversible covalent (cohesive and interfacial) and reversible physical (with Laponite) crosslinks was exploited in creating an injectable tissue adhesive. Incorporation of Laponite did not interfere with the curing of the adhesive. In some instances, increasing Laponite content reduced gelation time as dopamine-Laponite bond reduced the required number of covalent bonds needed for network formation. Incorporation of Laponite also increased compressive materials properties (e.g., max strength, energy to failure, etc.) of the nanocomposite without compromising its compliance as strain at failure was also increased. From lap shear adhesion test using wetted pericardium as the substrate, incorporating Laponite increased work of adhesion by 5 fold over that of control. Strong, physical bonds formed between dopamine and Laponite increased bulk materials properties, which contributed to the enhanced adhesive properties.
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