Large scale structures in nanocomposite hydrogels
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The physical picture of the large scale structures in nanocomposite hydrogels and some of their unique behavior were discussed. The aqueous solutions of the synthetic hectorite type clay, Laponite RD (LRD) and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) were used and the clay particles composed of platelets of high purity and uniform size. It was demonstrated that polymer-clay gels contained structures on a multiple scale length. Analysis suggests that the clay platelets can interconnect by network-active polymer through their edges with many strings being much longer than the 30 nm nominal platelet diameter.