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Synthesis and Structure–Property Relationships of Cryogels

  • Oguz OkayEmail author
  • Vladimir I. Lozinsky
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 263)

Abstract

Polymeric gels belong to the most important class of functional polymers in modern biotechnology. They are useful materials for drug delivery systems, artificial organs, separation operations in biotechnology, processing of agricultural products, on–off switches, sensors, and actuators. Despite this fact and considerable research in this field, the design and control of gel-based devices still present some problems due to the their poor mechanical performance and slow rate of response to external stimuli. Cryogelation techniques discovered more than 30 years ago overcome these limitations by producing macroporous gels with high toughness and superfast responsivity. This chapter discusses how and why the properties of gels significantly alter upon transition from homogeneous gelation to a cryogelation regime. The formation and structure–property relationships of cryogels starting from monovinyl–divinyl monomers, as well as from linear polymer chains, are reviewed using examples from the recent literature. Some novel cryogels with a wide range of tunable properties and their applications are also presented in detail. These include DNA cryogels for the removal of carcinogens from aqueous environments, silk fibroin cryogels as mechanically strong scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications, poly(acrylic acid) cryogels as self-oscillation systems, and rubber cryogels as reusable oil sorbent for the removal of oil spill from seawater.

Keywords

Cryogels Porosity formation Gelation Elasticity Swelling 

Abbreviations

α

Dissociation degree

χ

Polymer–solvent interaction parameter

λ

Deformation ratio

νe

Effective crosslink density

σ

Nominal stress

σcomp

Compressive stress

σp

Critical stress corresponding to the plateau regime

AAc

Acrylic acid

AAm

Acrylamide

AMPS

2-Acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid sodium salt

APS

Ammonium persulfate

BAAm

N,N-methylene(bis)acrylamide

BDDE

1,4-Butanediol diglycidyl ether

C

Monomer concentration in the unfrozen zones

CBR

cis-Polybutadiene

Co

Initial concentration of the monomeric or the polymeric precursors

CR

Rubber concentration

CSF

Fibroin concentration

DMA

N,N-Dimethylacrylamide

DMSO

Dimethyl sulfoxide

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid

E

Young’s modulus

EGDE

Ethylene glycol diglycidyl ether

EtBr

Ethidium bromide

f

Effective charge density

G

Shear modulus

HEMA

2-Hydroxyethyl methacrylate

k

Reduced flow rate

mrel

Normalized gel mass with respect to its equilibrium swollen mass

NIPA

N-Isopropylacrylamide

P

Total porosity or the volume fraction of frozen solvent in the reaction system

PAAc

Poly(acrylic acid)

PAAm

Polyacrylamide

PAMPS

Poly(AMPS)

PDMA

Poly(DMA)

PIB

Butyl rubber, a linear polyisobutylene containing small amounts of internal unsaturated groups (isoprene units)

PMAAc

Poly(methacrylic acid)

PNIPA

Poly(NIPA)

Ps

Swollen state porosity

PSA

Poly(SA)

PVA

Poly(vinyl alcohol)

qv

Equilibrium volume swelling ratio (with respect to dry state)

qw

Equilibrium weight swelling ratio (with respect to dry state)

SA

Sodium acrylate

SBR

Styrene-butadiene rubber

SEM

Scanning electron microscopy

TEMED

N,N,N′,N′-Tetramethylethylenediamine

Tprep

Cryogelation temperature

V1

Molar volume of solvent

Veq

Volume swelling ratio with respect to the after preparation state of gels

Vp

Total volume of open pores

Notes

Acknowledgement

This work was supported by the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK, TBAG–211 T044) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR, 12-03-91371). O.O. thanks the Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) for the partial support.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Laboratory for Cryochemistry of (Bio)Polymers, A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement CompoundsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussian Federation

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