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J Appl Phys. 2010 Mar 15;107(6):63509. Epub 2010 Mar 23.

Stress-relaxation behavior in gels with ionic and covalent crosslinks.


Long-chained polymers in alginate hydrogels can form networks by either ionic or covalent crosslinks. This paper shows that the type of crosslinks can markedly affect the stress-relaxation behavior of the gels. In gels with only ionic crosslinks, stress relaxes mainly through breaking and subsequent reforming of the ionic crosslinks, and the time scale of the relaxation is independent of the size of the sample. By contrast, in gels with only covalent crosslinks, stress relaxes mainly through migration of water, and the relaxation slows down as the size of the sample increases. Implications of these observations are discussed.

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