Peer-reviewed article published: “Electro-osmotic Actuators from Cellulose Nanocrystals and Nanocomposite Hydrogels”

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A peer-reviewed FPInnovations article entitled “Electro-osmotic Actuators from Cellulose Nanocrystals and Nanocomposite Hydrogels” was published in the international multidisciplinary journal ACS Applied Polymer Materials (Volume 3, Issue 12, December 2021).

FPI 2feb22The article was co-authored by FPInnovations’ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., research manager of the Transformation and Interfaces Group, and Lacey Reid, former Transformation and Interfaces scientist.

Soft actuators are stimuli-responsive soft materials (e.g., polymers and hydrogels) that incur a change in volume in response to an external trigger to perform mechanical work in a specific environment. FPInnovations’ scientists have developed a simple solution-processing method by which cellulose nanocrystals, CNCs, are blended with hydrophilic non-ionic polymers to create ionic electroactive hydrogels. Such electroactive biopolymer hydrogels have potential applications as soft actuators for biomedicine and robotics.

Both free-standing films of bio-sourced CNCs and nanocomposite hydrogels comprising CNCs and hydrophilic polymers have been shown to behave as anionic polymer actuators in response to an electric field. CNCs were incorporated into non-electroresponsive polyacrylamide to yield nanocomposite materials with greater field-induced bending responses and longer lifetimes than pure CNC films. The actuation rate of CNC–polyacrylamide nanocomposite hydrogels in ionic solution can be tuned by the amount of sulfate-bearing CNCs incorporated into the hydrogel and the density of sulfate groups on CNC surfaces to produce vast nanocomposite actuators (9°/s bending speed). This novel development can initiate opportunities for using CNC-based soft actuators in in sensors, microfluidics, robotics, and biomedicine.

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Source: FPInnovations