Advances in Understanding Hydrogel Lubrication

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Since their inception, hydrogels have gained popularity among multiple fields, most significantly in biomedical research and industry. Due to their resemblance to biological tribosystems, a significant amount of research has been conducted on hydrogels to elucidate biolubrication mechanisms and their possible applications as replacement materials. This review is focused on lubrication mechanisms and covers friction models that have attempted to quantify the complex frictional characteristics of hydrogels. From models developed on the basis of polymer physics to the concept of hydration lubrication, assumptions and conditions for their applicability are discussed. Based on previous models and our own experimental findings, we propose the viscous-adhesive model for hydrogel friction. This model accounts for the effects of confinement of the polymer network provided by a solid surface and poroelastic relaxation as well as the (non) Newtonian shear of a complex fluid on the frictional force and quantifies the frictional response of hydrogels-solid interfaces. Finally, the review delineates potential areas of future research based on the current knowledge.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number54
JournalColloids and Interfaces
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 13 2020


  • Biolubrication
  • Friction
  • Hydrogels
  • Tribology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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