3 years ago

Highly Stretchable and Highly Resilient Polymer–Clay Nanocomposite Hydrogels with Low Hysteresis

Highly Stretchable and Highly Resilient Polymer–Clay Nanocomposite Hydrogels with Low Hysteresis
Mohan Edirisinghe, Suntharavathanan Mahalingam, Biqiong Chen, Xing Su
Highly stretchable and highly resilient polymer–clay nanocomposite hydrogels were synthesized by in situ polymerization of acrylamide in the presence of pristine montmorillonite (MMT) or chitosan-treated MMT nanoplatelets at an elevated temperature. Both nanocomposite hydrogels can be stretched to a strain of no less than 1290%. The treatment of clay with chitosan improves the tensile strength, elongation at break, and energy at break of the nanocomposite hydrogel by 237%, 102%, and 389%, respectively, due to the strong chitosan–MMT electrostatic interaction and the grafting of polyacrylamide onto chitosan chains. Both hydrogels display excellent resilience with low hysteresis; with a maximum tensile strain of 50%, ultralow hysteresis is found, while, with a maximum strain of 500%, both hydrogels fully recover their original state in just 1 min. The superb resilience of the nanocomposite hydrogels is attributed to the strong interactions within the hydrogels brought by chain branching, multiple hydrogen bonding, covalent bonding, and/or electrostatic force. The hydrogels can be fabricated into different shapes and forms, including microfibers spun using pressurized gyration, which may find a variety of potential applications in particular in healthcare.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b05261

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b05261

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