Constitutive equations are developed for the viscoplastic behavior of covalently cross-linked hydrogels subjected to swelling. The ability of the model to describe the time-dependent response is confirmed by comparison of results of simulation with observations on partially swollen poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) gel specimens in uniaxial tensile tests with a constant strain rate and tensile relaxation tests. The stress-strain relations are applied to study the kinetics of unconstrained and constrained swelling. The following conclusions are drawn from numerical analysis: (i) maximum water uptake under constrained swelling a viscoplastic hydrogel is lower than that for unconstrained swelling of its elastic counterpart and exceeds maximum water uptake under constrained swelling of the elastic gel, (ii) when the rate of water diffusion exceeds the rate of plastic flow in a polymer network, swelling curves (mass uptake versus time) for viscoplastic gels under constraints demonstrate characteristic features of non-Fickian diffusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (all)