IGM Colloquium: Gel Mechanics, by Prof. Lallit Anand
There are numerous elastomeric materials which can absorb large quantities of suitable fluids without the essential skeletal network structure of the elastomer being disrupted by the action of the fluid. Such a polymer network, together with the fluid molecules, forms a swollen aggregate called an elastomeric gel.
We have formulated a continuum‐mechanical theory to describe the various coupled aspects of fluid permeation and large deformations (e.g., swelling and squeezing) of elastomeric gels. We have also numerically implemented our theory, and solved several interesting boundary‐value problems of engineering interest. If the concentration of the solvent or the deformation is increased to substantial levels, especially in the presence of flaws, then the gel may rupture. While, the understanding and modeling of the effects of fluid diffusion on the damage and fracture of polymeric gels is still in its infancy, I will also discuss a thermodynamically‐consistent theory for fracture of polymeric gels ‐‐‐ a theory which accounts for the coupled effects of fluid diffusion, large deformations, damage, and also the gradient effects of damage.
► Chester, S.A., and Anand, L., 2010. A coupled theory of fluid permeation and large
deformations for elastomeric materials. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
► Chester, S.A., and Anand, L., 2011. A thermo‐mechanically‐coupled theory for fluid
permeation in elastomeric materials: application to thermally‐responsive gels. Journal of
the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 59, 1978‐2006.
► Chester, S.A., Di Leo, C.V., Anand, L., 2015. A finite element implementation of a
coupled diffusion‐deformation theory for elastomeric gels. International Journal of
Solids and Structures 52, 1‐18.
► Mao, Y., and Anand, L., 2018. A theory for fracture of polymeric gels. Journal of the
Mechanics and Physics of Solids 115, 30‐53.