3 years ago

Thermal actuation of hydrogels from PNIPAm, alginate, and carbon nanofibres

Thermal actuation of hydrogels from PNIPAm, alginate, and carbon nanofibres
Marc in het Panhuis, David L. Officer, Holly Warren, Geoffrey M. Spinks
Composite ionic-covalent entanglement (ICE) hydrogel networks were prepared from poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), alginate, and carbon nanofibres. An optimised triple network hydrogel with 86% water content exhibited a compressive strength of 3.0 ± 0.1 MPa and 66 ± 13 mS/cm electrical conductivity. Thermal actuation was shown to have a shorter response time for gels containing nanofibres, compared to those which did not and hydrogel samples more than halved in volume within 1 minute when placed in a 60 °C water bath. Controlled dye release was demonstrated as a potential application and used to further quantify thermal actuation over short times. Joule heating techniques were used to electronically actuate the hydrogel samples, removing the traditional requirements for immersion in a temperature controlled liquid. It is expected that devices based on these materials will find potential applications in soft robotics and micro fluidics. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2017 A strong triple network composite hydrogel from thermally actuating poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm), conductive carbon nanofibres, and biopolymer alginate was prepared. It was shown to have suitable actuation response for application in soft robotic actuators or microfluidics devices. Due to the presence of the carbon network, direct Joule heating can be used to instigate thermal actuation.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/polb.24430

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