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A methodology to analyse and simulate mechanical characteristics of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogel


Correspondence to: Weiwei Zhao, Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK. E-mail:


In the present work, the mechanical properties of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) such as ultimate strength, ultimate strain and shear modulus under compression were measured. Mathematical models for hyperelastic materials, which are often used to study rubbers or tyres and include the Mooney–Rivlin and neo-Hookean models, were also used to theoretically analyse mechanical nonlinear behaviour of the hydrogel. The simulations based on these models were then implemented and validated by analysis with experimental data for comparison. The accuracy of simulations using the two models was subsequently assessed and discussed in order to determine which model is a feasible representation and reflection of the true behaviour of the hydrogel. This study on the mechanical behaviour of PHEMA under compression stress will ultimately serve for optimization of the design and manufacture of multilayer microfluidic devices in terms of the distribution of pressure induced in the packaging process, since the implementation of thin PHEMA hydrogel free-standing films is required to be incorporated with harder polymeric material components, such as thermoplastics or thermoset microfabricated platforms. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry