Water evaporation from gel beads
Hydrogels are characterized by properties which make them ideal candidates for applications in several fields, such as drug delivery, biomedicine, and functional foods. Molecular diffusion out of a hydrogel matrix depends on their hydrodynamic radii and the mesh sizes within the matrix of the gel. A quantitative experimental and mathematical understanding of interactions, kinetics, and transport phenomena within complex hydrogel systems assists network design by identifying the key parameters and mechanisms that govern the rate and extent of solute release. In this article a calorimetric differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) study reports on the approach to parallel water effusion from a hydrogel matrix to the release of a model protein. The measurement of the water evaporation is taken as the simplest routine determination of a phenomenon that is basically due to a diffusive process through the porous structure of the gel and thermodynamically governed by the difference in the water chemical potential inside and outside of the bead. The analysis of the experimental calorimetric curves is made with the purpose of extracting several numerical parameters characteristic of each curve. The rationale is to develop a simple methodology to understand the release properties of the porous structure of the complex gel matrix by means of DSC.
KeywordsDSC Water effusion Hydrogel Beads Release
The present results have been achieved in part within the EU Project FP6 NanoBioPharmaceutics (NMP 026723-2), and the Project ‘‘Oral vaccine carrier for fish farming of Friuli Venezia Giulia”.
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