Concentration-Responsive Soft Valve for Osmotic Flow Control

Jaedeok Seo, Kaare H. Jensen*, Wonjung Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We propose a novel osmotic soft valve consisting of an osmosis membrane and hydrogel films. In our osmotic valve system, material selectivity is determined by the osmosis membrane, and the hydrogel film, which deforms depending on the ion concentration of the surrounding solution, controls the passage area of the membrane. Independently controlling the material selectivity and permeability allowed us to design an osmotic soft valve with an osmotic flow rate that increases with osmotic pressure at low pressures but decreases with osmotic pressure at high pressures. We demonstrate a representative application of our hydrogel valve system in a portable power generator utilizing reverse electrodialysis (RED). As the permeability varied with concentration, the hydrogel valve was able to maintain the electric power of the RED for 30 min with only an ∼10% change. Our study provides techniques to build osmotic soft valves that can serve as gating membranes in various osmosis and dialysis systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number38
Pages (from-to)46015–46021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Dialysis
  • Flow control
  • Hydrogel
  • Osmosis
  • Osmotic valve
  • Soft actuator


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