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Effect of First Network Topology on the Toughness of Double Network Hydrogels

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journal contribution
posted on 27.08.2013, 00:00 by Hai Xin, Sureyya Zengin Saricilar, Hugh R. Brown, Philip G. Whitten, Geoffrey M. Spinks
The fracture toughness of a double network (DN) hydrogel is shown here to be directly proportional to the toughness of the first-formed network. A series of DN gels was prepared in which the cross-link density of the first (tighter) network was controlled by varying the monomer and cross-linker concentrations. The toughness, tensile strength and elastic modulus of the DN gels increased significantly with an increase in the cross-link density of the first network and with identically prepared second networks. Moreover, the toughness of the double network was found to be linearly related to the toughness of the first network with an amplification factor of ∼150 times. Existing models of DN fracture based on network strand scission are utilized to quantify the relationship between the first network toughness and the DN toughness.