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A multifunctional hydrogel fabricated via ultra-fast polymerization by graphene oxide-adsorbed liquid metal nanodroplets
journal contributionposted on 22.03.2022, 10:07 by Yaotian Su, Jiawei Zhao, Wenwei Zhan, Haocheng Yuan, Lingyun Wu, Gang Sui, Hongtao ZhangHongtao Zhang
Graphene structures have never been found to play a role in accelerating fabrication of functional hydrogels. In this work, it is initially discovered that multifunctional hydrogels are fabricated via ultra-fast polymerization (∼minutes) by graphene oxide-adsorbed liquid metal nanodroplets (LMNPs@GO) vs. by conventional approaches (∼hours/days). LMNPs@GO are used to rapidly initiate and further cross-link polyacrylic acid (PAA) chains into a three-dimensional (3D) network without any extra molecular initiators, cross-linkers, heat source, and/or protective gas. The polymerization process with LMNPs@GO is extremely faster than that without GO involved (20 s vs. 4 h of prepolymer formation, and then 10 min vs. 3 days of crosslinking) for free radical polymerization of PAA hydrogels. The resulting hydrogel with 2 wt% reduced graphene oxide (rGO) exhibits 600% increase in tensile strength and 950% enhancement in conductivity, as well as excellent self-healing capabilities, in comparison with that of the pure PAA. The sensitivity studies show its great potential for the application of flexible sensors. Furthermore, the hydrogel possesses good dissolving properties, which is greatly beneficial for recyclability of the LM. This creative study not only broadens a novel application of graphene for making advanced multifunctional polymer materials, but also provides a brand-new route to realization of ultra-fast manufacturing technology that is significantly promising for industrial production in wearable devices.
National Natural Science of China (No. 51873011 and No. U1664251)
National Key R&D Program of China (2020YFC1910201)
- Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering