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Reduced Graphene Oxide-Containing Smart Hydrogels with Excellent Electro-Response and Mechanical Properties for Soft Actuators

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posted on 20.04.2017, 00:00 by Chao Yang, Zhuang Liu, Chen Chen, Kun Shi, Lei Zhang, Xiao-Jie Ju, Wei Wang, Rui Xie, Liang-Yin Chu
A novel reduced graphene oxide/poly­(2-acrylamido-2-methylpropanesulfonic acid-co-acrylamide) (rGO/poly­(AMPS-co-AAm)) nanocomposite hydrogel that possesses excellent electro-response and mechanical properties has been successfully developed. The rGO nanosheets that homogeneously dispersed in the hydrogels could provide prominent conductive platforms for promoting the ion transport inside the hydrogels to generate significant osmotic pressure between the outside and inside of such nanocomposite hydrogels. Thus, the electro-responsive rate and degree of the hydrogel for both deswelling and bending performances become rapid and remarkable. Moreover, the enhanced mechanical properties including both the tensile strength and compressive strength of rGO/poly­(AMPS-co-AAm) hydrogels are improved by the hydrogen-bond interactions between the rGO nanosheets and polymer chains, which could dissipate the strain energy in the polymeric networks of the hydrogels. The proposed rGO/poly­(AMPS-co-AAm) nanocomposite hydrogels with improved mechanical properties exhibit rapid, significant, and reversible electro-response, which show great potential for developing remotely controlled electro-responsive hydrogel systems, such as smart actuators and soft manipulators.