Hybrid organic-inorganic supramolecular hydrogel reinforced with CePO$_4$ nanowires

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We report a method to enhance the stiffness in the rheological yield strain of cucurbit[8]uril (CB[8])-based hydrogels by introducing inorganic nanowires (NWs) into the supramolecular networks. The supramolecular hydrogel is comprised of methylviologen-functionalised poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA-MV), hydroxyethyl cellulose with naphthyl moieties (HEC-Np) and CB[8] macrocyclic hosts. The gel structure can be effectively enhanced by the framework supporting effects of cerous phosphate NWs and additional hydrogen bonding interactions between the NWs and the PVA-MV/HEC-Np polymers. The high aspect ratio NWs serve as a “skeleton” for the network providing extra physical crosslinks, resulting in a single continuous phase hybrid supramolecular network with improved strength, presenting a general approach to reinforce soft materials.