Flexible, stretchable and conductive PVA/PEDOT:PSS composite hydrogels prepared by SIPN strategy

Yun Fei Zhang, Ming Ming Guo, Ya Zhang, Chak Yin Tang, Can Jiang, Yuqing Dong, Wing Cheung Law, Fei Peng Du

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Stretchable conductive hydrogels have received significant attention due to their possibility of being utilized in wearable electronics and healthcare devices. In this work, a semi-interpenetrating polymer network (SIPN) strategy was employed to fabricate a set of flexible, stretchable and conductive composite hydrogels composed of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) in the presence of glutaraldehyde as the crosslinker, HCl as the catalyst and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) as the conductive medium. The results from FTIR, Raman, SEM and TGA indicate that a chemical crosslinking network and interactions of PVA and PEDOT:PSS exist in the SIPN hydrogels. The swelling ratio of hydrogels decreased with increasing content of PEDOT:PSS. Due to the chemical crosslinking network and interactions of PVA and PEDOT:PSS, PVA networks semi-interpenetrated with PEDOT:PSS exhibited excellent tensile and compression properties. The tensile strength and elongation at breakage of the composite hydrogels with 0.14 wt% PEDOT:PSS were 70 KPa and 239%, respectively. The compression stress of the composite hydrogels with 0.14 wt% PEDOT:PSS at a strain of 50% was about 216 KPa. The electrical conductivity of the hydrogels increased with increasing PEDOT:PSS content. The flexible, stretchable and conductive properties endow the composite hydrogel sensor with a superior gauge factor of up to 4.4 (strain: 100%). Coupling the strain sensing capability to the flexibility, good mechanical properties and high electrical conductivity, we consider that the designed PVA/PEDOT:PSS composite hydrogels have promising applications in wearable devices, such as flexible electronic skin and sensitive strain sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106213
JournalPolymer Testing
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Electrical conductivity
  • Mechanical properties
  • PVA hydrogel
  • Strain sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics

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