The synthesis, swelling behaviour and rheological properties of chemically crosslinked thermosensitive copolymers based on N-isopropylacrylamide
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In this contribution thermosensitive polymer matrices based on N-isopropylacrylamide have been developed. The hydrogels were prepared by photopolymerisation of N-isopropylacrylamide and 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone in appropriate amounts of distilled water. The monomers were cured using a UV-light sensitive initiator called 1-hydroxycyclohexylphenylketone. These copolymers were crosslinked using ethylene glycol dimethacrylate and poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate with molecular weights 600 and 1,000, at 0.1 wt% of the total monomer content. The chemical structure of the xerogels was characterised by means of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and the transition temperature of the hydrogels was determined using modulated differential scanning calorimetry (MDSC). By altering the feed ratio, hydrogels were synthesised to have lower critical solution temperatures (LCST) around 37 °C. This ability to shift the phase transition temperature of the gels provides excellent flexibility in tailoring transitions for specific uses. The samples synthesised with PEG1000DMA crosslinking agents absorbed over 18 times their weight in water, while maintaining good gel integrity thus falling marginally short of being characterised as superabsorbent. Each of the samples showed similar deswelling behaviour at 37 °C. Rheological studies showed that increasing the molecular weight of the crosslinking agent caused an increase in hydrogel strength.
KeywordsCrosslinking Agent Phase Transition Temperature Lower Critical Solution Temperature PNIPAAm EGDMA
This study was supported in parts by grants from both Enterprise Ireland and the Athlone Institute of Technology research and development fund.
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