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Rui Huang's picture

Swell induced surface instability of confined hydrogel layers

A previous work suggested a critical condition to form surface creases in elastomers and gels. For elastomers, the critical condition seems to have closed a gap between experimental observations (e.g., by bending a rubber block) and the classical instability analysis by Biot. For gels, however, experiments have observed a wide range of critical swelling ratios, from around 2 to 3.7. Here we present a linear perturbation analysis for swollen hydrogels confined on a rigid substrate, which predicts critical swelling ratios in a similar range.

Cai Shengqiang's picture

A theory of constrained swelling of a pH-sensitive hydrogel

Many engineering devices and natural phenomena involve gels that swell under the constraint of hard materials. The constraint causes a field of stress in a gel, and often makes the swelling inhomogeneous even when the gel reaches a state of equilibrium. To analyze inhomogeneous swelling of a pH-sensitive gel, we implement a finite element method in the commercial software ABAQUS.  The program is attached here.  Contact Shenqiang Cai ( for a description of the program.

Rui Huang's picture

Effect of constraint on swelling of hydrogels and formation of surface creases

Inspired by recent works by Wei Hong , Xuanhe Zhao, Zhigang Suo, and their coworkers, we started a project on hydrogels, with particular interest in various instability patterns observed in experiments. The attachment is our first manuscript on this subject. Through this work we hope to achieve the following:

Zhigang Suo's picture

Mechanics of Soft Active Materials

At the invitation of David Clarke on behalf of the UCSB/Los Alamos Institute of Multiscale Materials and Structures, I gave the following three lectures:

  1. Large deformation and instability in dielectric elastomers
  2. Large deformation and instability in swelling polymeric gels
  3. Mechanics and electrochemistry of polyelectrolyte gels

The abstracts follow, and the slides are attached at the end of this post.

Zhigang Suo's picture

Large deformation and instability in gels

I'm attaching slides of a talk that I gave yesterday at the Schlumberger-Doll Research Center.  In preparing the talk, I made liberal use of slides prepared by Wei Hong for his own presentations.  The talk is mainly based on the following papers:

Xuanhe Zhao's picture

Inhomogeneous and anisotropic equilibrium state of a swollen hydrogel containing a hard core

A polymer network can imbibe water from environment and swell to an equilibrium state. If the equilibrium is reached when the network is subject to external mechanical constraint, the deformation of the network is typically anisotropic, and the concentration of water inhomogeneous.  Such an equilibrium state in a network constrained by a hard core is modeled here with a nonlinear differential equation.  The presence of the hard core markedly reduces the concentration of water near the interface and causes high stresses.

Wei Hong's picture

Drying-induced bifurcation in a hydrogel-actuated nanostructure

Hydrogels have enormous potential for making adaptive structures in response to diverse stimuli.  In a structure demonstrated recently, for example, nanoscale rods of silicon were embedded vertically in a swollen hydrogel, and the rods tilted by a large angle in response to a drying environment (Sidorenko, et al., Science 315, 487, 2007).  Here we describe a model to show that this behavior corresponds to a bifurcation at a critical humidity, analogous to a phase transition of the second kind.

Wei Hong's picture

A theory of coupled diffusion and large deformation in polymeric gels

   A large quantity of small molecules may migrate into a network of long polymers, causing the network to swell, forming an aggregate known as a polymeric gel.  This paper formulates a theory of the coupled mass transport and large deformation.

Journal Club Theme of July 2007: Mechanics of Hydrogels

Before we start this issue of J-club, I would like to recommend Prof. Langer's lecture for his MRS Von Hippel Award in the 2005 MRS Fall Meeting (Langer, 2006). His lecture not only delineated the history of the new exciting field of drug delivery and controlled release, but also told us many interesting stories happened in his career development. With Prof. Langer's pioneer work, many new materials are developed for designing new drug delivery and controlled drug release systems.


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