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Polymers 2017, 9(12), 688; doi:10.3390/polym9120688

Thermal Transport in Soft PAAm Hydrogels

2,3,* and 1,4,*
School of Optical and Electronic Information, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1037 Luoyu Rd., Wuhan 430074, China
Key Laboratory of Coal Combustion, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1037 Luoyu Rd., Wuhan 430074, China
Nano Interface Center for Energy, School of Energy and Power Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1037 Luoyu Rd., Wuhan 430074, China
Innovation Institute, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1037 Luoyu Rd., Wuhan 430074, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Materials and Systems)
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As the interface between human and machine becomes blurred, hydrogel incorporated electronics and devices have emerged to be a new class of flexible/stretchable electronic and ionic devices due to their extraordinary properties, such as softness, mechanically robustness, and biocompatibility. However, heat dissipation in these devices could be a critical issue and remains unexplored. Here, we report the experimental measurements and equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations of thermal conduction in polyacrylamide (PAAm) hydrogels. The thermal conductivity of PAAm hydrogels can be modulated by both the effective crosslinking density and water content in hydrogels. The effective crosslinking density dependent thermal conductivity in hydrogels varies from 0.33 to 0.51 Wm−1K−1, giving a 54% enhancement. We attribute the crosslinking effect to the competition between the increased conduction pathways and the enhanced phonon scattering effect. Moreover, water content can act as filler in polymers which leads to nearly 40% enhancement in thermal conductivity in PAAm hydrogels with water content vary from 23 to 88 wt %. Furthermore, we find the thermal conductivity of PAAm hydrogel is insensitive to temperature in the range of 25–40 °C. Our study offers fundamental understanding of thermal transport in soft materials and provides design guidance for hydrogel-based devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrogel; thermal conductivity; 3ω method; molecular dynamics hydrogel; thermal conductivity; 3ω method; molecular dynamics

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tang, N.; Peng, Z.; Guo, R.; An, M.; Chen, X.; Li, X.; Yang, N.; Zang, J. Thermal Transport in Soft PAAm Hydrogels. Polymers 2017, 9, 688.

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