Hydrogel is a kind of three-dimensional network structure polymer prepared from natural or synthetic materials by physical/chemical cross-linking. It is insoluble in water but can absorb dozens or even thousands of times itself of water. The unique network structure makes it have good inherent strength and adhesion. Through one or more bonding mechanisms (such as mechanical interlocking, diffusion, wet adhesion, etc.), hydrogels can achieve strong adhesion with matrix materials. The adhesion mechanism and application of hydrogels are reviewed in this paper. First, the raw material source, stimulus–response and network structure classification of hydrogels are briefly introduced; then, the research on the design strategy and adhesion mechanism of adhesive hydrogels in recent years is summarized; finally, the applications of adhesive hydrogels in biomedicine, food science, cosmetics, and textiles are introduced, and the improvement of human life quality brought by adhesive hydrogels is expounded.

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