Research ArticleENGINEERING

Instant tough bonding of hydrogels for soft machines and electronics

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Science Advances  21 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1700053
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700053

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Abstract

Introducing methods for instant tough bonding between hydrogels and antagonistic materials—from soft to hard—allows us to demonstrate elastic yet tough biomimetic devices and machines with a high level of complexity. Tough hydrogels strongly attach, within seconds, to plastics, elastomers, leather, bone, and metals, reaching unprecedented interfacial toughness exceeding 2000 J/m2. Healing of severed ionic hydrogel conductors becomes feasible and restores function instantly. Soft, transparent multilayered hybrids of elastomers and ionic hydrogels endure biaxial strain with more than 2000% increase in area, facilitating soft transducers, generators, and adaptive lenses. We demonstrate soft electronic devices, from stretchable batteries, self-powered compliant circuits, and autonomous electronic skin for triggered drug delivery. Our approach is applicable in rapid prototyping and in delicate environments inaccessible for extended curing and cross-linking.

Keywords
  • hydrogels
  • Soft Electronics
  • Soft Robots
  • stretchable electronics
  • Soft Batteries
  • energy harvesting
  • Electronic Skins
  • Adaptive Optics

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