The use of injectable porous hydrogels is of great interest in biomedical applications due to their excellent permeability and ease of integration into sites of surgical intervention. By implementing a method that enables the formation in situ of pores with controllable porosity and pore size, it is possible to synthesize bioactive hydrogels that are tailor-made for specific biomedical applications. An emulsion-templating technique was used to encapsulate oil droplets, which are subsequently leached out of the hydrogel to create the porous structure. Pore size and porosity were manipulated by changing oil-to-water ratios and the surfactant concentrations. Highly swellable porous hydrogels were obtained with control over mechanical strength and diffusive properties. The relationship between porosity, pore size, and the hydrogel's physical and mechanical characteristics was analyzed, and the potential of this material as a protein drug delivery system was demonstrated.
- Pore size