Tension–compression asymmetry in the mechanical response of hydrogels

A. D. Drozdov, J. de C. Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Two factors play the key role in application of hydrogels as biomedical implants (for example, for replacement of damaged intervertebral discs and repair of spinal cord injuries): their stiffness and strength (measured in tensile tests) and mechanical integrity (estimated under uniaxial compression). Observations show a pronounced difference between the responses of hydrogels under tension and compression (the Young's moduli can differ by two orders of magnitude), which is conventionally referred to as the tension–compression asymmetry (TCA). A constitutive model is developed for the mechanical behavior of hydrogels, where TCA is described within the viscoplasticity theory (plastic flow is treated as sliding of junctions between chains with respect to their reference positions). The governing equations involve five material constants with transparent physical meaning. These quantities are found by fitting stress–strain diagrams under tension and compression on a number of pristine and nanocomposite hydrogels with various kinds of chemical and physical bonds between chains. Good agreement is demonstrated between the experimental data and results of simulation. The influence of volume fraction of nanoparticles, concentration of cross-links, and topology of a polymer network on material parameters is analyzed numerically.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103851
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrogel
  • Modeling
  • Tension–compression asymmetry
  • Viscoplasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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