Mechanical and transport properties of the poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(acrylic acid) double network hydrogel from molecular dynamic simulations

SS Jang and WA Goddard and MYS Kalani, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 111, 1729-1737 (2007).

DOI: 10.1021/jp0656330

We used atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the mechanical and transport properties of the PEO-PAA double network (DN) hydrogel with 76 wt % water content. By analyzing the pair correlation functions for polymer-water pairs and for ion-water pairs and the solvent accessible surface area, we found that the solvation of polymer and ion in the DN hydrogel is enhanced in comparison with both PEO and PAA single network (SN) hydrogels. The effective mesh size of this DN hydrogel is smaller than that of the SN hydrogels with the same water content and the same molecular weight between the cross-linking points (M-c). Applying uniaxial extensions, we obtained the stress-strain curves for the hydrogels. This shows that the DN hydrogel has a sudden increase of stress above similar to 100% strain, much higher than the sum of the stresses of the two SN hydrogels at the same strain. This arises because PEO has a smaller M-c value than PAA, so that the PEO in the DN reaches fully stretched out at 100% strain that corresponds to 260% strain in the PEO SN (beyond this point, the bond stretching and the angle bending increase dramatically). We also calculated the diffusion coefficients of solutes such as d-glucose and ascorbic acid in the hydrogels, where we find that the diffusion coefficients of those solutes in the DN hydrogel are 60% of that in the PEO SN and 40% of that in the PAA SN due to its smaller effective mesh size.

Return to Publications page