JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL TEXTILES, vol.51, no.4, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
One-step and rapid preparation of natural fiber woven fabric reinforced hydrogel composites via simultaneous dissolution and crosslinking of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) yarns in the fabric was reported. In this regards, PVA/Cotton (C), PVA/Flax (F) and PVA/Wool (W) blended woven fabrics were prepared for the manufacturing fabric reinforced hydrogel composites. The hybrid woven fabric reinforced fabrics were treated with different concentrations of borax solutions. Aqueous borax solutions were used to alter the PVA yarns in the fabric into cross-linked structure in order to enhance mechanical performance of the hydrogel composite. Morphological investigation of hydrogel composites in a dried form was carried out by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging. The chemical characterization of aqueous borax treated samples was examined by fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy(FTIR) measurements. Mechanical performances of the hydrogel composites were observed by tensile measurements. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was conducted to characterize thermal stability of hydrogel composites. The results revealed that natural fiber woven fabric reinforcement significantly enhanced the mechanical strength of hydrogel composites, and wool fabric reinforced composite had better mechanical performance than its cotton and flax counterparts. Due to the low mechanical properties of hydrogels in general, the prepared fabric reinforced hydrogel composites could be used in hydrogel applications where mechanical strength is critically important.