Achieving High-Speed Retraction in a Stretchable Hydrogel
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crosslinked rubbers display high stretchability and resilience, such is difficult to achieve in the water-containing systems such as in hydrogels, commonly considered materials for mimicking biological tissues. Here, we have used a simple free-radical polymerization of acrylic acid (AAc), methacrylamide (MAAm), and polypropylene glycol diacrylate (PPGDA) to obtain hydrogels. In these gels, the polymerized AAc and MAAm act as hydrophilic blocks and PPG as hydrophobic, and the gel structure resemble that of resilin consisting of hydrophilic and hydrophobic components. The bioinspired gels display very high stretchability, as high as eight times the original length, and greater than 90% resilience. In addition, the gel samples can reach a retraction velocity of 16 m/s with an acceleration of 4X10^3 m/s2. These values are similar or better than those observed in water containing biological systems, such as appendage strikes in Mantis shrimp, etc. To the best of our knowledge, such performance has not been reported in the
literature for any water containing networks.
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in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces