Date of Award

5-3-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Changhong Ke

Abstract

Hydrogels have great promise as an innovative biomedical material possessing many advantages such as high water content, porous structure, and excellent biocompatibility. Although hydrogels have been used to develop some successful applications, they commonly do not have sufficient mechanical strength required for artificial soft tissues. Here, the author fabricated reinforced PAAm hydrogels using single-walled carbon nanotubes as reinforcing materials. The fusion of SWCNTs and the PAAm matrix successfully generated SWCNTs/PAAm hybrid gels with improved mechanical strength. Moreover, the aqueous dispersion of SWCNTs used for engineering the hybrid gels remained excellent stability after two months. SEM images from previous research and fragments of gels after compression tests have shown that the enhancement is based on increased micro-networks in the porous structure of hydrogels and decreased stress concentration. Some phenomena, such as surface patterns, wave-like edges, and adhesiveness of gel fragments, were also mentioned and discussed.

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