Thermo-Responsive Hydrogel-Based Soft Valves with Annular Actuation Calibration and Circumferential Gripping

Bioengineering (Basel). 2021 Sep 20;8(9):127. doi: 10.3390/bioengineering8090127.

ABSTRACT

Valves are largely useful for treatment assistance devices, e.g., supporting fluid circulation movement in the human body. However, the valves presently used in biomedical applications still use materials that are rigid, non-compliant, and hard to integrate with human tissues. Here, we propose biologically-inspired, stimuli-responsive valves and evaluate N-Isopropylacrylamide hydrogels-based valve (NPHV) and PAAm-alginate hydrogels-based valve (PAHV) performances with different chemical syntheses for optimizing better valve action. Once heated at 40 ∘C, the NPHV outperforms the PAHV in annular actuation (NPHV: 1.93 mm displacement in 4 min; PAHV: 0.8 mm displacement in 30 min). In contrast, the PAHV exhibits a flow rate change of up to 20%, and a payload of 100% when the object is at 100 ∘C. The PAHV demonstrated a completely soft, stretchable circular gripper with a high load-to-weight ratio for diversified applications. These valves are fabricated with a simple one-pot method that, once further optimized, can offer transdisciplinary applications.

PMID:34562949 | PMC:PMC8468597 | DOI:10.3390/bioengineering8090127

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