Conducting polymers and hydrogels are two classes of polymers that currently receive an increasing attention in the field of biomaterials, particularly for their application in the assembly of artificial muscles. In this paper we present the development of Polyacrylamide (PAAM) microfibers and polyaniline (PANI) - poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) conductive gel membrane.
The fabricated PAAM microfibers have diameters between 1 and 12μm depending on the preparation parameters. These microfibers respond instantaneously to 100mV electrical stimulation, which solves the problem of time response of the hydrogels. On the other hand, we showed that the inclusion of conducting chains within a crosslinked gel matrix allows combining the conductivity of the PANI with the mechanical flexibility of PVA in order to provide flexible gel membranes that can adhere to the PAAM microfibers to ensure their electrical stimulation.