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Polymers 2017, 9(11), 611; doi:10.3390/polym9110611

Aggregation Behavior of Nano-Silica in Polyvinyl Alcohol/Polyacrylamide Hydrogels Based on Dissipative Particle Dynamics

1
Department of Industry Engineering, College of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710072, China
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N5A9, Canada
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
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Abstract

Due to the aggregation behavior of nano-silica in aqueous solution, the use of nano-silica without surface modification for synthesizing hydrogels is still a challenging task. This paper presents our study on the use of dissipative particle dynamics simulations to discover the aggregation behavior of nano-silica in polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/polyacrylamide (PAM) blended hydrogels. By simulations, we aimed at investigating the effects of such factors as nano-silica content, polymer component ratio, temperature and shear rate on the aggregation behavior of nano-silica in terms of the mesoscopic morphologies and the relative concentration distribution functions. Our results reveal that the dispersion of nano-silica is seen if the nano-silica content is increased to 1.5%, and the aggregation of nano-silica becomes noticeable in blended hydrogels with an increase in the nano-silica content. This finding agrees well with the experimental results obtained by means of scanning electron microscopy. Furthermore, it is also found that the dispersion of nano-silica becomes more uniform with an increase in PAM content, temperature and shear rate. These findings greatly enrich our understanding of the aggregation behavior of nano-silica in PVA/PAM blended hydrogels. View Full-Text
Keywords: nano-silica; PVA/PAM blended hydrogel; dissipative particle dynamics; aggregation behavior; relative concentration distributions nano-silica; PVA/PAM blended hydrogel; dissipative particle dynamics; aggregation behavior; relative concentration distributions
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wei, Q.; Wang, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Chen, X. Aggregation Behavior of Nano-Silica in Polyvinyl Alcohol/Polyacrylamide Hydrogels Based on Dissipative Particle Dynamics. Polymers 2017, 9, 611.

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