Presentation Title

Characterizing Hydrogels Using Vibrating Tube Mass Sensors

Faculty Mentor

William H. Grover

Start Date

18-11-2017 10:00 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 10:15 AM

Location

9-247

Session

Engineering/CS 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

engineering_computer_science

Abstract

Hydrogels have a wide range of applications in the medical field because of their biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, and resemblance to human cells and tissue. But while hydrogels are versatile, characterizing them can become difficult with conventional techniques, which often require slowly drying out the hydrogel to measure its properties like swelling ratio (the fraction of the hydrogel that is water). Our lab recently developed a vibrating tube mass sensor that can measure the mass, volume, and density of microgram-sized objects in fluid with high sensitivity. In this work, we show a novel method of using this sensor to characterize hydrogels. By measuring the buoyant mass of a microgram-sized sample of agarose hydrogel in different fluids, we can determine the mass, volume, density, and porosity of the hydrogel “skeleton” (the non-water framework) with a high precision in just a few minutes without having to dry out or destroy the sample. By providing valuable characterization data about hydrogels faster than existing techniques, our method should accelerate the development of novel hydrogels for important applications in healthcare.

Summary of research results to be presented

In this work, we show the versatility of a vibrating tube mass sensor (Figure A) to characterize materials. The ability to make sensitive mass measurements of samples submerged in a fluidic environment allows us to measure objects like hydrogels (Figure B). With this technique, we are able to shorten measuring parameters that can typically take multiple days down to just a few minutes. Figure C shows the swelling factor calculated based on our mass measurements from our sensor. We observed a decrease in swelling ratios with an increase in hydrogel cross-linking. This is due to their increased connectivity within the material, increasing resistance for the hydrogel to swell. This sensor is able to measure parameters like porosity and water retention, which is vital for several industries.

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Nov 18th, 10:00 AM Nov 18th, 10:15 AM

Characterizing Hydrogels Using Vibrating Tube Mass Sensors

9-247

Hydrogels have a wide range of applications in the medical field because of their biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, and resemblance to human cells and tissue. But while hydrogels are versatile, characterizing them can become difficult with conventional techniques, which often require slowly drying out the hydrogel to measure its properties like swelling ratio (the fraction of the hydrogel that is water). Our lab recently developed a vibrating tube mass sensor that can measure the mass, volume, and density of microgram-sized objects in fluid with high sensitivity. In this work, we show a novel method of using this sensor to characterize hydrogels. By measuring the buoyant mass of a microgram-sized sample of agarose hydrogel in different fluids, we can determine the mass, volume, density, and porosity of the hydrogel “skeleton” (the non-water framework) with a high precision in just a few minutes without having to dry out or destroy the sample. By providing valuable characterization data about hydrogels faster than existing techniques, our method should accelerate the development of novel hydrogels for important applications in healthcare.