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Issue 14, 2021
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Poroelastic shape relaxation of hydrogel particles

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Abstract

Hydrogels are commonly used in research and energy, manufacturing, agriculture, and biomedical applications. These uses typically require hydrogel mechanics and internal water transport, described by the poroelastic diffusion coefficient, to be characterized. Sophisticated indentation-based approaches are typically used for this purpose, but they require expensive instrumentation and are often limited to planar samples. Here, we present Shape Relaxation (SHARE), an alternative way to assess the poroelastic diffusion coefficient of hydrogel particles that is cost-effective, straightforward, and versatile. This approach relies on first indenting a hydrogel particle via swelling within a granular packing, and then monitoring how the indented shape of the hydrogel relaxes after it is removed from the packing. We validate this approach using experiments in packings with varying grain sizes and confining stresses; these yield measurements of the poroelastic diffusion coefficient of polyacrylamide hydrogels that are in good agreement with those previously obtained using indentation approaches. We therefore anticipate that the SHARE approach will find broad use in a range of applications of hydrogels and other swellable soft materials.

Graphical abstract: Poroelastic shape relaxation of hydrogel particles

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
20 Dec 2020
Accepted
24 Mar 2021
First published
29 Mar 2021

Soft Matter, 2021,17, 3840-3847
Article type
Paper

Poroelastic shape relaxation of hydrogel particles

J. Louf and S. S. Datta, Soft Matter, 2021, 17, 3840 DOI: 10.1039/D0SM02243H

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