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High-Throughput Modulus Measurements of Ultra-Soft Polymer Networks



Elizabeth A. Wilder, Shu Guo, Martin Chiang, Christopher Stafford


A metrology for rapidly measuring the modulus of ultra-soft polymer networks has been developed. The method utilizes compression-induced buckling of a sensor film that is applied to the surface of the specimen, where the modulus-dependent buckling wavelength can be rapidly assessed by laser light diffraction or optical microscopy. We first predict the sensitivity of the critical strain and resulting wavelength of the buckling instability to the modulus and thickness of the sensor film as well as the modulus of the ultra-soft material being probed. Then, the technique is validated using a model system (cross-linked poly(dimethylsiloxane)) and then is used to evaluate the mechanical properties of a relevant biomaterial (cross-linked 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) hydrogels). We also show how this metrology can be utilized to map the modulus across a gradient substrate.


biomaterials, buckling, combinatorial, gels, high throughput, hydrogels, metrology, modulus, networks


Wilder, E. , Guo, S. , Chiang, M. and Stafford, C. (2005), High-Throughput Modulus Measurements of Ultra-Soft Polymer Networks, Macromolecules, [online], (Accessed July 21, 2024)


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Created December 31, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021