Professor: Alan Zehnder
Project Description: Hydrogels are a class of soft materials consisting of a polymer network swollen by water. These gels can be made to have self-healing properties by cross linking the polymer chains with a blend of permanent and temporary bonds. The temporary bonds can break under stress and then later reform providing a degree of self-healing. Such gels can typically be deformed to very large strains (well over 100%) before failure and exhibit significant viscoelastic effects. The student on this project will be involved in fabrication and mechanical testing of the gel. The testing will involve tension and fracture tests under single and multi-cycle loadings and use of digital image correlation to map the deformation (strain) fields. The student should have completed basic college level courses in chemistry, physics, computer science and mechanics of materials.