Development of a Novel Standard Type of Gel Engineering Materials via Simple Bulk Polymerization
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Gels are soft and wet materials, which have unique properties such as low surface friction, material permeability, and biocompatibility. These superior properties of gels can possibly be applied to develop novel artificial blood vessels and can also be used at knee joints. However, the mechanical properties of the gels have not been clarified and controlled so far due to the lack of standard type of gels for mechanical engineering research. Here we try to develop a novel type of gel named the standard gel engineering materials (standard GEM) via simple bulk polymerization, <I>i.e</I>. dry synthesis without any solvent. In the numerous previous studies of gels, almost all gels have been prepared by solution polymerization, <I>i.e</I>. wet synthesis with various solvents. The mechanical properties of the wet-synthesized gels, however, strongly depend on the concentrations of the monomer, crosslinker, initiator, and accelerator in pre-gel solutions. Therefore, it is difficult to control the mechanical properties of gels causing rough reproducibility of mechanical experiments. In the present paper, the simple bulk polymerization is proposed as another candidate to create a standard GEM. The key point of the present work is to use the liquid type of highly reactive monomer, which plays the role of solvent in preparation, and thus we do not have to consider both the ratio concentrations of the monomer and the accelerator to the solvent in preparation. In this case we can focus only on the ratio concentration of the crosslinker to the monomer. This ratio concentration is directly related to the contour length of the polymer chain between the crosslinking points. We have found that the mechanical properties of the dry-synthesized GEM depend hardly on the ratio concentration of the initiator to the monomer, but mainly on that of the crosslinker. The Young's modulus is simply, well described as a power function of the crosslinker concentration. We hope this dry-synthesized GEM will be useful as another novel standard sample for mechanical engineering research.
- Journal of Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering
Journal of Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering 7(3), 455-462, 2013
The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers