Modeling and Simulation of a Chemically Stimulated Hydrogel Bilayer Bending Actuator
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Polyelectrolyte hydrogels are a class of smart materials which show a reversible swelling or deswelling behavior if subjected to an external stimulus, such as pH, temperature or ion concentration. Stacked layers of different hydrogels, often referred to as hydrogel layer composites, offer new possibilities to create sophisticated sensor and actuator systems on the microscale.
The numerical investigation of these systems is essential to predict and understand their complex behavior and develop devices based on hydrogel layer systems. In this contribution, a chemo-electro-mechanical multifield theory is adopted to describe the complex processes inside of the hydrogels, including migrative and diffusive ion fluxes, electrical fields and mechanical deformation due to a osmotic pressure difference.
The respective time-dependent field equations are solved on a two-dimensional domain using the Finite Element Method.
The study includes the analysis of the bending behavior of a hydrogel bilayer giving an insight into the relevant inner processes. The obtained results match with previous findings and are in excellent agreement with analytical investigations.
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This research has been financially supported by the German Science Foundation (DFG) in the framework of the Research Training Group 1865 Hydrogel-based Microsystems.
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