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Switching Friction with Thermal- Responsive Gels

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Abstract

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The thermosensitive graphene oxide (GO)/poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (pNIPAM) composite hydrogels are prepared, and their tribological properties in response to external stimuli are evaluated. The frictional coefficient of the hydrogels is closely related to the gel composition and ambient temperature. When the gel is in swelling state below the low critical solution temperature (LCST), it shows ultra-low friction and exhibits high friction at a shrunk state above the LCST. The huge difference of frictional coefficient under two states can be reversibly switched many times by altering the temperature. The incorporation of a nonthermal sensitive monomer into pNIPAM could change the LCST and thus the transformation point of frictional coefficient can be altered. These reversible and tunable frictional hydrogels have potential application in the design of intelligent control equipment.

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