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J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2011 Mar;11(3):2470-9.

Experimental methods of actuation, characterization and prototyping of hydrogels for bioMEMS/NEMS applications.

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  • 1Advanced MEMS/NEMS Multiphysics Design Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G8, Canada.


As a member of the smart polymer material group, stimuli responsive hydrogels have achieved a wide range of applications in microfluidic devices, micro/nano bio and environmental sensors, biomechanics and drug delivery systems. To optimize the utilization of a hydrogel in various micro and nano applications it is essential to have a better understanding of its mechanical and electrical properties. This paper presents a review of the different techniques used to determine a hydrogel's mechanical properties, including tensile strength, compressive strength and shear modulus and the electrical properties including electrical conductivity and dielectric permittivity. Also explored the effect of various prototyping factors and the mechanisms by which these factors are used to alter the mechanical and electrical properties of a hydrogel. Finally, this review discusses a wide range of hydrogel fabrication techniques and methods used, to date, to actuate this family of smart polymer material.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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