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Proceedings Paper

Epoxy hydrogels as sensors and actuators
Author(s): Paul Calvert; Prabir Patra; Deepak Duggal
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Paper Abstract

Most hydrogel actuators and sensors are made via acrylate polymerizations. Because these chain reactions are inhibited by oxygen, it is difficult to prepare thin films or dots with good control. Epoxy curing chemistry is much less sensitive to experimental conditions. We have previously shown that hydrogels formed from reaction between water-soluble amines and epoxides can be readily printed. If the gel is filled with conducting carbon at a level close to the percolation threshold, the resistance changes as water is taken up or removed from the gel. In particular, a pH decrease results in ionization of amine groups and drives swelling of the gel. By incorporating an enzyme, such as glucose oxidase, that releases hydrogen ions when its substrate is present, a resistance change can be used to measure substrate concentrations. These gels also respond to stress with a change in resistance. By making the gel the anode or cathode of an electrolytic cell, they can also be formed as actuators that expand or contract as the pH changes locally. Epoxy chemistry has been little explored for gels. It is very versatile and could be used to make a wide range of gel composites with one or more phases, varying water contents, varying functional groups and a range of electrical conductivity.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 April 2007
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 6524, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007, 65240M (4 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.715733
Show Author Affiliations
Paul Calvert, Univ. of Massachusetts/Dartmouth (United States)
Prabir Patra, Univ. of Massachusetts/Dartmouth (United States)
Deepak Duggal, Univ. of Massachusetts/Dartmouth (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6524:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2007
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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