Stretchable Hydrogel Helps to Power Wearable Electronics

Hydrogels with combined properties of adhesion, self-healing, flexibility and conductivity have great potential for next-generation wearable electronic systems. A recent study published in the journal presented a double-mesh hydrogel as a conductive material. Applied materials and ACS interfaces.

Research: Deformable triboelectric nanogenerator based on hydrogel, which is stretchable, adhesive, self-healing and conductive, for energy collection and sensing of human movement. Image Credit: Gilmanshin /

MAGP hydrogels are sandwiched between two sheets of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) / poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) to create a flexible pressure sensor that can be used to detect sensitive and reliable human movements.

What are conductive hydrogels (CHs)?

Adaptive electronics with high electrical impulses and ductility are gaining popularity and are already used in various health tracking programs, human-machine interfaces and private information management applications.

Conventional conductive materials that lack the biological features inspired by nature have been designed and modified to be suitable for human soft tissues in a variety of ways.

Conductive hydrogel (CH) is an example of a representative system that fills the gap between biological features, fine natural adaptability, and programmable electrical properties.

The CH impedance distribution during the tensile process is many times smaller than in the electrical circuit, which largely meets the critical requirements of intelligent technology in real applications, namely high strength and reproducibility under various mechanical and elastic deformations.

As a promising choice for portable electronics, hydrogels with high conductivity and acceptable biophysical behavior should be developed and developed at a rapid pace.

Hybrid channels are based on conducting polymers

Universal three-dimensional crosslinked polymer structure and modified conductive matrix are the two main components of composite CH.

Compared to standard conventional electrochemical devices, CH based on polymer electrolytes have significant advantages, including excellent biological activity and low dielectric resistance, according to numerous studies.

PEDOT: PSS (poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly (styrene sulfonate)) is a new star in biotechnology and computing due to its good performance, conductivity and cytocompatibility.

Covalent interactions with a rigid characteristic, on the other hand, are inherently low tensile strength. The use of compounds to enhance mechanical properties is a widely recognized method. However, lower conductivity is unfavorable.

Desired properties of conducting hydrogels

Good adhesion can provide the perfect combination between equipment and uneven epidermis or body tissue in nasal electronics, which is useful for indicating conversion and bond stability.

Other essential qualities of PEDOT: CH based PSS include durability and long service life.

Soft materials are limited by high moisture content, which makes them vulnerable to mechanical impact during use and can lead to loss of tensile strength and functionality.

As a result, hydrogels with self-healing properties (similar to human skin) are in high demand. CHs can then heal any cracks or damage caused by external force or stimulation.

Development of a new hybrid CH

In this work, several chemical bonds were used to create a PSS-conductive polymer with excellent adhesion, consistent self-healing ability, and mechanical properties.

The interlayer exposure of PAAM and PAA resulted in a key flexible structure. Then as conductive elements GR and direct PEDOT: PSS mutually penetrated to form conductive connections.

Research results and conclusion

Researchers have created a hydrogel with integrated features such as versatility, adhesion, self-healing and excellent conductivity.

Before the crack, the hydrogel can be expanded to about 500 percent of its original length. It also held up well on a variety of surfaces including glassware, metal, wood and porcelain.

With physical damage, he showed a strong ability to self-healing without the need for any external source of energy or substances.

The strain sensor has a high long-term consistency and endurance, and it can be used as a body motion detector to detect sensitive and strong human movements.

D-TENG can also create an open circuit potential of 141 V and a short-circuit discharge of 0.8 A, which allows you to instantly power 52 LEDs.

D-TENG can also charge a variety of batteries and demonstrate that it can power tiny devices such as a humidity thermostat. This D-TENG can meet a wide range of application requirements, from deformable / portable devices to intelligent communication protocols, thanks to its inherent ductility, energy extraction and interactive sensing capabilities.


Dong, L. et al. (2022). Deformable triboelectric nanogenerator based on hydrogel, which is stretchable, adhesive, self-healing and conductive, to collect energy and sensing human movement. Applied materials and ACS interfaces. Available at:

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