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Widusha Illeperuma's blog

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Fiber-reinforced tough hydrogels

Our paper has appeared in EML (Extreme Mechanics Letters) and can be downloaded.  Using strong fibers to reinforce a hydrogel is highly desirable but difficult. Such a composite would combine the attributes of a solid that provides strength and a liquid that transports matter. Most hydrogels, however, are brittle, allowing the fibers to cut through the hydrogel when the composite is loaded. Here we circumvent this problem by using a recently developed tough hydrogel.

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Force and stroke of a hydrogel actuator

Hydrogels that undergo a volume phase transition in response to an
external stimulus are of great interest because of their possible use as
actuator materials. The performance of an actuator material is normally
characterized by its force–stroke curve, but little is known about the
force–stroke behavior of hydrogels. We use the theory of the ideal
elastomeric gel to predict the force–stroke curves of a
temperature-sensitive hydrogel and introduce an experimental method for
measuring the curve. The technique is applied to PNIPAm hydrogels with
low cross-link densities. The maximum force generated by the hydrogel
increases with increasing cross-link density, while the maximum stroke

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