The strain energy density function (F) of the polyrotaxane-based slide-ring (SR) gels with movable cross-links along the network strands is characterized by unequal biaxial stretching which can achieve various types of deformation. The SR gels as prepared without any post-preparation complication exhibit considerably smaller values of the ratio of the stresses (σy/σx) in the stretched (x) and constrained (y) directions in planar extension than classical chemical gels with heterogeneous and nearly homogeneous network structures do. This feature of the SR gels leads to the peculiar characteristic that the strain energy density function (F) has no explicit cross term of strains in different directions, which is in contrast to F with explicit strain cross terms for most chemical gels and elastomers. The biaxial stress-strain data of the SR gels are successfully described by F of the Gent model with only two parameters (small-strain shear modulus and a parameter representing ultimate elongation), which introduces the finite extensibility effect into the neo-Hookean model with no explicit cross term of strain. The biaxial data of the deswollen SR gels examined in previous study, which underwent a considerable reduction in volume from the preparation state, are also well described by the Gent model, which is in contrast to the case of the classical chemical gels that the stress-strain relations before and after large deswelling are not described by a common type of F due to a significant degree of collapse of the network strands in the deswollen state. These intriguing features of nonlinear elasticity of the SR gels originate from a novel function of the slidable cross-links that can maximize the arrangement entropy of cross-linked and non-cross-linked cyclic molecules in the deformed networks.
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