Much of our fundamental knowledge related to polymer networks is built on an assumption of ideal end-linked network structure. Real networks invariably possess topological imperfections that negatively affect mechanical properties; modifications of classical network theories have been developed to account for these defects. Despite decades of effort, there are no known experimental protocols for precise quantification of even the simplest topological network imperfections: primary loops. Here we present a simple conceptual framework that enables primary loop quantification in polymeric materials. We apply this framework to measure the fraction of primary loop junctions in trifunctional PEG-based hydrogels. We anticipate that the concepts described here will open new avenues of theoretical and experimental research related to polymer network structure.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Nov 20 2012|
- Network disassembly spectrometry
- Responsive materials
ASJC Scopus subject areas