HNSE-P2-4. Water Flow Through Hydrogels
Faculty Mentor: Jeremy Cho, Ph.D.1
1Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Hydrogels are materials made up of three-dimensional, crosslinked networks composed of hydrophilic polymer chains that are serviceable due to their ability to absorb and retain a significant amount of water. The rate of water absorption can be determined by testing the hydrogels’ permeability to improve the absorption efficiency. This study aims to determine the water permeability of hydrogels of varying crosslinker ratios to facilitate fast water absorption. Here, an aluminum apparatus was designed and manufactured to apply a pressure distribution to hydrogel samples using a water reservoir and pressure regulator. A LabView simulation was programmed to utilize Darcy’s Law to compute water permeability over a time interval. We anticipate that permeability will decrease as the crosslinker ratio increases due to the microstructure of the gel becoming denser. Additionally, we hypothesize that increasing the pressure distribution will compress the gel, also making it denser and decreasing the permeability. The findings will be implemented into an atmospheric water harvester to contend as a possible solution to water scarcity. They will also serve as a base for further research into altering water permeability of hydrogels using freeze/thaw cycles.
This research was funded by UNLV’s TRIO McNair Scholars Institute, which is housed within UNLV’s Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach and funded under the TRIO Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program by a grant (P217A170069) from the U.S. Department of Education.
Bianca Navarro | Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering
Dr. Jeremy Cho | Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering
Yiwei Gao | Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering