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Mechanical Properties and Structures of Clay-Polyelectrolyte Blend Hydrogels

Division of Molecular Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Gunma University, 1-5-1 Tenjin-cho, Kiryu, Gunma 376-8515, Japan
Gunma University Center for Food Science and Wellness, 4-2 Aramaki, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8510, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 July 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyelectrolyte Gels)
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Our recent studies have shown that the hydrogels prepared by blending clay, a dispersant of clay, and a polyelectrolyte (sodium polyacrylate (PAAS)) possess excellent mechanical properties. In order to clarify the mechanism of the toughness, we have so far investigated the effects of the composition, molecular mass of the polymer, and kinds of polymers on the mechanical properties. This study has focused upon the mechanical properties and structures of the clay/PAAS gels using three kinds of smectite clay minerals such as synthetic hectorite (laponite XLG), saponite (sumecton-SA), montmorillonite (kunipia-F), whose particle size becomes larger according to the sequence. Laponite/PAAS and sumecton/PAAS gels were quite tough for high compression, whereas kunipia-F/PAAS did not gelate. In comparison between sumecton/PAAS gel and laponite/PAAS gel, the mechanical property of the former gel was poorer than that of the latter gel due to the inhomogeneous distribution of clay platelets in the gel. Synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering experiments revealed that their clay platelets laid down in the stretching direction under elongation. Furthermore, it was found that sumecton/PAAS gel under elongation was arranged with an interparticle distance of ~6.3 nm in the direction perpendicular to the stretching. Such local ordering under elongation may originate in local aggregation of sumecton platelets in the original state without elongation. View Full-Text
Keywords: clay; blend hydrogels; toughness; polyelectrolyte; synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering clay; blend hydrogels; toughness; polyelectrolyte; synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering

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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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Takeno, H.; Nagai, S. Mechanical Properties and Structures of Clay-Polyelectrolyte Blend Hydrogels. Gels 2018, 4, 71.

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