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Bioinspired Ultra-stretchable and Anti-freezing Conductive Hydrogel Fibers with Ordered and Reversible Polymer Chain Alignment

Penelitian - Stretchable conductive materials are essential for the emerging stretchable electronic devices. Inspired by spider silk, the researchres propose to develop a simple spinning method hydrogel fibers with ordered and reversible chain alignment from aqueous solution of polyelectrolytes at ambient conditions.

Most of the conductive hydrogels are made into two-dimensional films or three-dimensional monoliths by molding methods, which result in an amorphous material with polymer chain’s random orientation and disordered alignment.

Penelitian Bioinspired Ultra-stretchable and Anti-freezing Conductive Hydrogel Fibers with Ordered and Reversible Polymer Chain Alignment

If conductive hydrogels can be made into one-dimensional fibers with ordered alignment of polymer chains, some properties of conductive hydrogel fibers (e.g., mechanical properties and conductivity) would be greatly enhanced over conventional conductive hydrogel films and monoliths.

However, the ordered chain alignment of conductive polymers has been achieved in solid-state microfibers prepared by template directed polymerization or alignment, which are not suitable for the preparation of conductive hydrogel fibers at macroscopic scale.

On the other hand, spinning methods are widely used to prepare polymer fibers with ordered chain alignment. But conductive hydrogels are rarely made into long fibers by spinning, due to the poor spinnability of current conductive hydrogels or their precursor solutions.

In addition, conductive hydrogel films and monoliths are also limited by their slow resilience from large deformation due to the moderate reversibility of polymer chain alignment, and the loss of functions at subzero temperature.

Mingming Ma of the University of Science and Technology of China in Anhui and colleagues show a simple spinning method to prepare conductive hydrogel fibers with ordered polymer chain alignment that mimics the hierarchically organized structure of spider silk.



The as-prepared sodium polyacrylate hydrogel fiber is further coated with a thin layer of polymethyl acrylate to form a core–shell water-resistant MAPAH fiber. Owing to the coexistence and reversible transformation of crystalline and amorphous domains in the fibers, MAPAH fibers exhibit high tensile strength, large stretchability and fast resilience from large strain.

MAPAH fiber serve as a highly stretchable wire with a conductive hydrogel core and an insulating cover. The stretchability and conductivity of the fiber are retained at -35C. As a prime example of stretchable conductive fibers, MAPAH fibers will shed light on the design of next generation textile-based stretchable electronic devices.

Journal : Xue Zhao et al. Bioinspired ultra-stretchable and anti-freezing conductive hydrogel fibers with ordered and reversible polymer chain alignment, Nature Communications, 04 September 2018, DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-05904-z

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