Mechanics of polymeric gels
Shawn A. CHESTER New Jersey Institute of Technology
This talk discusses recent and ongoing research on the multiphysics response of polymeric gels. A polymeric gels
is a polymeric material swollen by a fluid, and the intake or outflow causes large deformations. Also, many gels respond to environmental stimuli such as temperature, electric and magnetic fields, pH, and more. The responsiveness of polymeric gels to environmental stimuli has been widely employed in soft robotics, and the potential applications of soft robots are vast. The fast emerging development of gel-based soft robots makes understanding the mechanics of this class of material an important task for simulating their operation.
The talk begins with recent experimental observations on the mechanical behaviour of polymeric gels. Then a continuum level model for the coupled deformation-diffusion response of gels that incorporates anisotropy and inelasticity is summarized. That is followed by model calibration and attempts for validation on relatively simple gels. Numerical simulations are performed to show the behaviour of the model, and qualitative comparison is made to experiments of a soft robotic gripper. Results show that the behaviour of polymeric gels is even more dependent on fluid uptake than previously thought.
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