Mechanically Strong and Multifunctional Hybrid Hydrogels with Ultrahigh Electrical Conductivity
Polymer Science and Engineering
Stretchable conductive hydrogels with simultaneous high mechanical strength/modulus, and ultrahigh, stable electrical conductivity are ideal for applications in soft robots, artificial skin, and bioelectronics, but to date, they are still very challenging to fabricate. Herein, sandwich-structured hybrid hydrogels based on layers of aramid nanofibers (ANFs) reinforced polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogels and a layer of silver nanowires (AgNWs)/PVA are fabricated by electrospinning combined with vacuum-assisted filtration. The hybrid ANF-PVA hydrogels exhibit excellent mechanical properties with the tensile modulus of 10.7–15.4 MPa, tensile strength of 3.3–5.5 MPa, and fracture energy up to 5.7 kJ m−2, primarily attributed to the strong hydrogen bonding interactions between PVA and ANFs and in-plane alignment of the fibrous structure. Rational design of heterogeneous structure endows the hydrogels with ultrahigh apparent electrical conductivity of 1.66 × 104 S m−1, among the highest electrical conductivities ever reported so far for conductive hydrogels. More importantly, this ultrahigh conductivity remains constant upon a broad range of applied strains from 0–90% and over 500 stretching cycles. Furthermore, the hydrogels exhibit excellent Joule heating and electromagnetic interference shielding performances due to the ultrahigh electrical conductivity. These mechanically strong, hybrid hydrogels with ultrahigh and strain-invariant electrical conductivity represent great promises for many important applications such as flexible electronics.
Advanced Functional Materials
(2021). Mechanically Strong and Multifunctional Hybrid Hydrogels with Ultrahigh Electrical Conductivity. Advanced Functional Materials, 31(40).
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/19294