Negative swelling hydrogel enabled by osmotic pressure induced dehydration

05 December 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Swelling positively in water is a common behavior of hydrogels, which may lead to reduced mechanical performance and stability. Enabling negative swelling represents a promising way to address those issues, but is extremely challenging to realize. Here real negative swelling hydrogels had been successfully prepared for the first time through a unique double network design. A transformable network confined by a rigid network was prone to self-assembly under osmotic pressure, which eventually caused dehydration of the entire hydrogel. Such gels could lose up to 35% of their weight underwater, and featured water-strengthened mechanical properties, enhanced structural responsiveness, underwater repair ability, resistance to deformation and swelling turn-off effect. Those unique properties allow future material development and applications to be carried out in much broader dimensions.


Negative swelling hydrogel
Osmotic pressure induced dehydration
Unusual property
Double network
Force induced phase separation


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