Electronics - Polymer Science

Tough Responsive Hydrogels for Smart Devices

Soft materials can be highly sensitive to external stimuli and are therefore crucial to the survival of plants and animals. The design of many soft materials is inspired by nature, for example, polymeric hydrogels. Due to their high water content and biocompatibility, hydrogels are widely used in various bio-related smart devices. Conventional hydrogels, however, lack strength and toughness, which limits their functional applications.

In recent years, tough hydrogels have been developed, which overcome the aforementioned limitations. Increasing interest in this area of research has revealed some significant experimental and computational opportunities with respect to their compositions and mechanical behavior.

A Special Issue in the Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, guest edited by Jun Fu of Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been dedicated to tough responsive hydrogels and their applications as smart devices, in light of recent developments. Topics covered include the preparation, toughening mechanisms, and applications of tough hydrogels.

With this review in mind, future research on novel structures and optimized performances of tough hydrogels will hopefully be inspired.

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