Invited Review

Subject Category: Functional Polymers

Polymer Journal (2010) 42, 839–851; doi:10.1038/pj.2010.87; published online 29 September 2010

Recent advances in hydrogels in terms of fast stimuli responsiveness and superior mechanical performance

Abu Bin Imran1, Takahiro Seki1 and Yukikazu Takeoka1

1Department of Molecular Design and Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan

Correspondence: Professor Y Takeoka, Department of Molecuar Design and Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 454-8603, Japan. E-mail: ytakeoka@apchem.nagoya-u.ac.jp

Received 3 August 2010; Revised 14 August 2010; Accepted 18 August 2010; Published online 29 September 2010.

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Abstract

This review addresses the potential development of polymer hydrogels in terms of fast stimuli responsiveness and superior mechanical properties. The slow response and mechanical weakness of stimuli-sensitive hydrogels have been considered as the main barriers for their further development and practical application. It has been a dream of scientists to have fast stimuli-responsive hydrogels with superior mechanical performance. In this review, the principal reasons behind the poor stimulus sensitivity and mechanical strength of polymer gels are highlighted, and we present some pioneering physical and chemical efforts aimed at fabricating hydrogels with high stimuli sensitivities and/or superior mechanical properties.

Keywords:

butterfly pattern; fast stimuli sensitivity; hydrogel; LCST; mechanical property