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Langmuir. 2005 Oct 11;21(21):9420-5.

Friction coefficient and structural transition in a poly(acrylamide) gel.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Kyushu University, 4-2-1 Ropponmatsu, Fukuoka 810-8560, Japan.


The friction coefficient between the polymer network of an opaque poly(acrylamide) gel and water is measured as a function of the mole fraction of cross linker. The friction coefficients of opaque gels are 4 to 5 orders of magnitude smaller than those of the transparent gels. This drastic decrease in friction occurs when the mole fraction of cross linker is 0.2. In opaque gels, the friction coefficient of gels and the mole fraction of cross linker are related by a power law. The network structure of the opaque gels used in the friction measurements is examined with a confocal laser scanning microscope. The opaque gel network consists of a fractal aggregate of colloidal particles. The radius of particles and the volume occupied by the particles depend on the mole fraction of cross linker. Both relationships are well described by the power laws. The power law of the friction coefficient is well explained in terms of the power laws of the structural parameters and the Stokes equation of the hydrodynamic friction for the spherical particle. It indicates that the friction of the opaque gel is determined simply by the structure of the polymer network.

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