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AIM

• To check for the electrical properties of a gel and produce a relevant model to
explain the electrical properties.

MOTIVATION
(1) The conventional silicon electronics is almost reaching its end.
(2) The need for miniaturized, multi-sensor organic systems.

Gel materials are known since a long time and were used in various fields of
science. It is reasonably good to assume that gels can also be used in the field of
electronics and thus a trial was made to check if it can really be used in this
field.
CLASSIFICATION OF
COLLOIDS
SYSTEM DISPERSED CONTINUOUS PRODUCT
PHASE PHASE
SOL SOLID LIQUID Uncooked custard,
unset jelly
GEL LIQUID SOLID Jelly, Jam, Blancmange
EMULSION LIQUID LIQUID Milk
SOLID EMULTION LIQUID SOLID Butter, Margarine
FOAM GAS LIQUID Whipped cream,
Whisked egg white
SOLID FOAM GAS SOLID Bread, Cake, Icecream
WHAT IS A GEL ?
• GELS are colloid of liquid dispersed in solid.

• Solid is continuous phase and liquid is dispersed phase.

• GELS behave as solids due to 3-Dimensional cross-linked networks in solids.

• Examples of gels are Gelatin, Agar-Agar, Carrageen, methyl cellulose, sodium


Alginate, silica gel etc.

• TYPES OF GEL: (1) HYDROGEL


(2) ORGANOGELS
(3) XEROGELS
(4) NANOCOMPOSITE GELS
PROPERTIES OF GELS
GENERAL PROPERTIES
• Firmness
• Sticky vs Clean
• Setting Temperature
• Melting Temperature
• Hysteresis
• Particle Suspending
• Shear Thinning

ELECTRICAL PROPERTIES
• Electrophoresis : phenomenon of movement of colloidal particles under an
applied electric field.
• Electrical double layer theory:
• Electro-osmosis: movement of the dispersed particles are prevented from moving
by semipermeable membrane.
COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE
GELS
• Gelatin.
• Agar.
• Methylcellulose.
• Carrageenan: Kappa & Iota.
• Sodium Alginate.
• Some of the available conductive gels are
• ECG Gel
• Spectra 360

 Gelatin was first tested and it had following drawbacks :


o It melts easily at room temperature.
o Unstable to perform further experiments.
o Becomes dry and hard after a few days with change in colour.

 Agar Agar was the next readily available gel and thus its properties were
studied and experimentation was continued.
AGAR AGAR GEL
• The Agar used is Bacteriological grade and is in the form of a powder.

STRUCTURE
PROPERTIES OF AGAR
• It has a setting temperature between 32°C-43°C and does not melt below 85°C. This
is a unique property of agar, compared to other gelling agents.

• The gel is very stable.

• The simple water solution has that gelling power. There is no need to add reagents
to form gel, such as potassium (or proteins as is necessary with carrageenans).

• Its gel has an excellent reversibility allowing it to be repeatedly gelled and melted
without losing any of the original properties.
SAMPLE PREPARATION
• A bacteriological grade agar powder was taken in a specific quantity as per the set concentration
(concentration taken is below the saturation concentration) and mixed with corresponding
concentration of distilled water.

• The corresponding concentration of agar and water is taken into a heat resistant beaker and is
heated in a water bath equipment.

• The temperature of the solution is constantly measured using a laboratory thermometer with
constant stirring (for uniformity of solution). The solution was heated till about 85-86 C.

• The solution after reaching the above temperature is taken into a flat mould in order to make thin
gel films.

• The gel solution was allowed to cool in the mould by placing it over a flat surface filled with cool
water as a coolant.

• After a certain time of around 5-10 minutes the gel was cut into required dimensions using a sharp
cutter.

• The same experiment was repeated for different concentrations of agar agar i.e., 2gm/30ml and
3gm/30ml and also by adding 4% of NaCl (salt) for both the above mentioned concentrations.
MAKING ELECTRODES
The prepared gel is to be experimented for the electrical properties. For this the
electrode contact is to be made. The following were the assumed material to be
used as electrodes:
• Aluminium foils
• Aquadag coating
• Silver paint
After many unsuccessful attempts using aluminium foil and due to unavailability of
efficient contact materials, the most economical and the best way we found was use of
mechanical contacts i.e., stapler pins as electrodes. Though it was not a proper way but
this was sufficient to carry out the experiments required.
EXPERIMENTAL SETUP
HOW MEASUREMENTS WERE
CARRIED OUT
1) For a given resistance output voltage across resistor is measured and hence corresponding current
through the device is calculated.

2) By keeping a constant frequency step (1) is repeated for different resistance (currents).

𝑽𝒊
3) The total Impedance of the circuit is calculated by 𝒁𝑻 =
𝑰𝟎

4) Next the impedance of gel is calculated vectorially which is given by 𝑿𝒈𝒆𝒍 = 𝒁𝟐𝑻 − 𝑹𝟐𝑳

1
5) Since we know that the reactance of capacitor 𝑋𝐶 = the capacitance can be calculated for
2𝜋𝑓𝐶
𝟏
different values of frequencies by 𝑪 =
𝟐𝝅𝒇𝑿𝒈𝒆𝒍

6) The following statistical data obtained from the experiments is recorded and
is given in the form of tabular columns as listed below
 Current (I) vs equivalent reactance (Xgel) with constant frequency.
 Current (I) vs capacitance (C) with constant frequency.
 Frequency (f) vs capacitance (C) with constant current.
OBSERVATIONS
ANALYSIS
1. CURRENT (I) VS REACTANCE OF GEL (Xgel)
For the 3gram/30ml agar without salt sample, following I vs Xgel graph was drawn
For the 2gram/30ml agar without salt sample, following I vs Xgel graph was drawn

CONCLUSION:
As current increases,
reactance of gel decreases
abruptly and tend to
remain
constant for higher
currents.
For the 3gram/30ml agar with 4% NaCl sample, following I vs Xgel graph was drawn

CONCLUSION:
As current increases, reactance of gel
decreases abruptly and tend to remain
constant for higher currents.
2. CURRENT (I) VS CAPACITANCE (C)
(a) For the 3gram/30ml agar sample without salt, following I vs C graph was drawn
(b) For the 2gram/30ml agar sample without salt, following I vs C graph
was drawn

CONCLUSION:
As the current through the element increases capacitance increases and also as
frequency is increased capacitance decreases and for higher frequencies
capacitance tends to saturate
(c) For the 2gram/30ml agar sample without salt and for 3gm/30ml agar
sample without salt, a comparison plot of I vs C was drawn

CONCLUSION:
As we change the concentration of functional element there is no considerable
change in capacitance as we vary the current by keeping frequency constant and for
higher frequencies capacitance tends to saturate.
(d) For the 3gram/30ml agar sample with salt (4% of agar weight), following I vs C
graph was drawn

(e) For the 2gram/30ml agar sample with salt (4% of agar weight), following I vs C
graph was drawn

CONCLUSION:
As the current through the element increases capacitance increases and also as
frequency is increased capacitance decreases (same trend as without salt )
(c) For the 3 gram/30ml agar sample without salt and for 3 gram/30ml agar sample
with salt, a comparison plot of I vs C was drawn

CONCLUSION:
• As the current through the element increases capacitance increases and also as
frequency is increased capacitance decreases .
• For a particular frequency, as current increases to greatest value, the
capacitances of with and without salt samples are same.
(c) For the 2 gram/30ml agar sample without salt and for 2 gram/30ml agar sample
with salt, a comparison plot of I vs C was drawn

CONCLUSION:
• As the current through the element increases capacitance increases and also as
frequency is increased capacitance decreases .
• A different trend is observed compared to the one with 3gm/30ml sample. So it is
recommended to perform the experiment again to see if trend is same as previous.
3.FREQUENCY (F) VS CAPACITANCE (C) AT CONSTANT CURRENT

(a) F vs C curve for different currents of sample 3gm/30ml concentration samples


without salt are shown
(b) F vs C curve for different currents of sample 2gm/30ml concentration samples
without salt are shown

CONCLUSION:
• For particular current as frequency increases the capacitance decreases and tends
to saturate for higher frequencies.
• Curves representing more current value has more capacitance (follows the usual
trend)
EXPLANATION OF OBSERVED
CHARACTERISTICS BY MODELLING
 It is not very clear as of now how does the gel element (agar) exhibits the resulted
characteristics. We will try to develop a model to explain thus obtained characteristics.

1st Attempt
• It was been assumed that the total capacitance obtained is due to electrical double
layer and since there are 2 electrodes, the total capacitance was divided into 2
capacitances at the surface and the middle part was assumed to be of a higher
capacitance in series with the two or is just a conducting path.

• The whole theory of the electrical double layer was explained by the Helmholtz
planes concept.

• It was assumed that as current/ voltage across the gel element increases the two
surface capacitances align in such a way that the width of the capacitor is more at
the positive voltage surface and less at the negative voltage surface and inverse is
the capacitance as explained by concept of helmholz planes.
• The 1st attempt of this assumption failed since
1. It was not clear regarding the middle/central part .
2. The mathematical calculations show that the overall capacitance is
independent of the width of two capacitances and hence the two
capacitances cannot be separately calculated.

Since, 𝑪𝒆𝒒 = C1 series C2


+V -V
C1 C2
𝟏 𝟏 𝟏
= +
𝑪𝒆𝒒 𝑪𝟏 𝑪𝟐
D-Δ D+Δ
𝑨∈ 𝑨∈
𝑪𝟏 = 𝑫−Δ and 𝑪𝟐 = 𝑫+Δ

𝟏 𝑫−Δ 𝑫+ Δ
= +
𝑪𝒆𝒒 𝑨∈ 𝑨∈
• 𝑪𝒆𝒒 is independent of D-Δand D+Δ.
𝟏 𝟐𝑫 • So C1 and C2 cannot be estimated.
= 𝑨∈
𝑪𝒆𝒒

𝑨∈
𝑪𝒆𝒒 =
𝟐𝑫
2nd Attempt
• The 2nd attempt of making the model was by using the concept of relaxation time
( 𝜏)and also the concept explanation by taking adhesive and cohesive forces into
picture.

• It is been assumed that the interior part of crosslink is filled with water and cohesive
forces (hydrogen bond) are higher than the adhesive forces (Van der Waals forces), it is
also expected that the entire volume of trapped water may behave like a single entity
(macro molecule).

• These macro molecules may exhibit polarization and may be oriented in different
directions.

• When an electric field is applied these macro molecules try to align themselves along
the direction of the field. The number of macro molecules or cells that align themselves
depend upon magnitude of electric field applied.

• As electric field is increased the number of dipole elements which align with the field
increase and as the dielectric constant and derived parameter capacitance increases.
Further, applied field is AC like a sine wave there is an amount of AC current flowing
through this capacitor which increases with applied electric field because of increase in
capacitance. Thus we can expect an increase in capacitance and hence increase in
current with electric field.
• It is shown that the permittivity of the dielectric at any frequency ω is given by
Debye equation at frequencies less than 100MHz.

The capacitance exhibited by the gel element is expected to depend on ‘ε’ as