Biological hydrogels provide a conducive three-dimensional extracellular matrix environment for encapsulating and cultivating living cells. Microenvironmental modulus of hydrogels dictates several characteristics of cell functions such as proliferation, adhesion, self-renewal, differentiation, migration, cell morphology and fate. Precise measurement of the mechanical properties of gels is necessary for investigating cellular mechanobiology in a variety of applications in tissue engineering. Elastic properties of gels are strongly influenced by the amount of crosslinking density.
The main purpose of the present study was to determine the elastic modulus of two types of well-known biological hydrogels: Agarose and Gelatin Methacryloyl.
Mechanical properties such as Young’s modulus, fracture stress and failure strain of the prescribed gels with a wide range of concentrations were determined using tension and compression tests.
The elastic modulus, failure stress and strain were found to be strongly influenced when the amount of concentration in the hydrogels was changed. The elastic modulus for a lower level of concentration, not considered in this study, was also predicted using statistical analysis.
Closed matching of the mechanical properties of the gels revealed that the bulk tension and compression tests could be confidently used for assessing mechanical properties of delicate biological hydrogels.