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Indentation: a simple, nondestructive method for characterizing the mechanical and transport properties of pH-sensitive hydrogel

Yuhang Hu's picture

We use instrumented indentation to characterize the mechanical and transport behavior of a pH-sensitive hydrogel in various aqueous buffer solutions. In the measurement an indenter is pressed to a fixed depth into a hydrogel disk and the load on the indenter is recorded as a function of time. By analyzing the load-relaxation curve using the theory of poroelasticity, the elastic constants of the hydrogel and the diffusivity of water in the gel can be evaluated. We investigate how the pH and ionic strength of the buffer solution, the hydrogel cross-link density, and the density of functional groups on the polymer backbone affect the properties of the hydrogel. This work demonstrates the utility of indentation techniques in the characterization of pH-sensitive hydrogels.

 

This paper has been accepted by JMR for publication. It can be downloaded at http://www.seas.harvard.edu/suo/papers/250.pdf

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