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Drastic swelling-induced softening of polymer networks with non-covalent cross-linking bonds

noyco's picture

Our recent work introduces a microscopically motivated model for the swelling response of polymer networks with non-covalent cross-linking bonds.

As opposed to the classical theories of rubber, we show that the uptake of water in polymer networks comprising hydrogen cross-linking bonds can lead to the dissociation of cross-links. This phenomenon leads to a reduction in the chain-density, an increase in entropy, and a decrease in the free energy.  As a result, the network experiences significant softening and exhibits a different mechanical response.

The model is validated through several experimental findings.

The paper is published in  Acta Biomaterialia.

 

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1742706119304854

 

 

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