Some Thoughts on The Definition of a Gel

  • Katsuyoshi NishinariEmail author
Part of the Progress in Colloid and Polymer Science book series (PROGCOLLOID, volume 136)


To avoid the confusion of the concept of a gel frequently encountered in daily markets of food, cosmetics, and other industrial products, the definition of a gel is revisited. Recent proposals of the definition of a gel are overviewed, and classifications of various gels from different points of view are described. Discussion is mainly focused on the gel-sol transition and the difference between the structured liquid and the gel, and the classification of gels by temperature dependence of elastic modulus. Finally, the definition of a gel is proposed as a working hypothesis from rheological and structural view points.


Gel-sol transition Rheology Structure Classification2 



The author thanks Prof.F.Tanaka for his precious advice.


  1. 1.
    Jordan Lloyd D (1926) The problem of gel structure. In: Alexander J (ed) Colloid chemistry, vol. 1. Chemical Catalogue Co., New York, pp 767–782Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gong JP (2005) In: SPSJ (ed) Dictionary of polymers (Kobunshi jiten). Asakura Shoten, Tokyo, p 208Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tanaka S, Nishinari K (2007) Polymer J 39:397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hossain KS, Nishinari K (2008) Discussion meeting of research group on polymer gels, SPSJ, pp 101–102 and this issueGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Otsuka E, Suzuki A (2008) Abstract of Tanaka memorial symposium pp 137–139Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Almdal K, Dyre J, Hvidt S, Kramer O (1993) Polymer Gels Networks 1:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Winter HH, Mours M (1997) Adv Polym Sci 134:165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Winter HH (1999) Private CommunicationsGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Koga T, Tanaka F (2008) Private communicationsGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fang Y, Nishinari K (2004) Biopolymers 73:44–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tanaka F, Edwards SF (1992) J Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech 43:247, 272, 289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tanaka F, Edwards SF (1992) Macromolecules 25:1516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nijenhuis Kte (1997) Adv Polym Sci 130:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Raghavan SR, Cipriano BH (2005) Gel formation: phase diagrams using tabletop rheology and calorimetry. In: Weiss RG, Terech P (ed), Molecular gels: materials with self-assembled fibrillar networks. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 233–244Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    de Gennes P-G (1979) “Scaling concepts in polymer physics”, Cornell University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stauffer D (1985) “Introduction to percolation theory”, Taylor and Francis, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tokita M (1989) Food Hydrocolloids 3:263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chambon F, Winter HH (1985) Polymer Bulletin 13:499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Nishinari K (2000) Rep Prog Polym Phys Japan 43:163Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Durand D, Delsanti M, Adam M, Luck JM (1987) Europhys Lett 3:297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Koike A, Nemoto N, Takahashi M, Osaki K (1994) Polymer 35:3005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tokita M, Hikichi K (1987) Phys Rev A35:4329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Tokita M, Niki R, Hikichi K (1985) J Chem Phys 83:2583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Li, L.and Aoki Y (1998) Macromolecules 31:740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nijenhuis Kte, Winter HH (1989) Macromolecules 22:411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nyström B, Walderhaug H, Hansen FK (1995) Faraday Discuss 101:335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nyström B, Walderhaug H (1996) J Phys Chem 100:5433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Matsumoto T, OkuboT (1991) J Rheol 35:135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Matsumoto, T. and Inoue, H., J. Chem. Soc. Faraday Trans, 87, 3385 (1991b)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ikeda S, Nishinari K (2000) Biomacromolecules 1:757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ikeda S, Nishinari K (2001) Int J Biol Macromol 28:315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ikeda S, Nishinari K (2001) Biopolymers 59:87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hirashima M, Takaya T, Nishinari K (1997) Thermochim Acta 306:109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Tobitani A, Ross-Murphy SB (1997) Macromolecules 30:4855CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ross-Murphy SB, Tobitani A (2000) In Nishinari K (ed) Hydrocolloids, Part 1: Physical Chemistry and Industrial Application of Gels, Polysaccharides, and Proteins. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 379–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Clark AH, Ross-Murphy SB (1987) Adv Polym Sci 83:57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Nishinari K (1976) Jpn J Appl Phys 15:1263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ross-Murphy SB, Morris VJ, Morris ER (1983) Faraday Symp Chem Soc 18:115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Strobl G (1996) “The Physics of Polymers”, Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Ross-Murphy SB (2008) In: Tanaka F (ed) Lecture Note at Kyoto UniversityGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Grossfield A (2005) J Chem Phys 122:024506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Fuchs T, Richtering W, Burchard W, Kajiwara K, Kitamura S (1997) Polym Gels Networks 5:541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Maeda H, Yuguchi Y, Kitamura S, Urakawa H, Kajiwara K, Richtering W, Fuchs T, Burchard W (1999) Polym J 31:530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Itou T, Teramoto A, Matsuo T, Suga H (1986) Macromolecules 19:1234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    S Ikeda, Nishinari K (2001) J Agric Food Chem 49:4436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Flory PJ (1974) Faraday Discuss Chem Soc 57:7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Keller A (1995) Faraday Discuss Chem Soc 101:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    de Gennes P-G (1999) Physica A 271:231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Okumura Y, Ito K (2001) Adv Mat 13:485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Tominaga T, Tirumala VR, Lin EK, Gong JP, Furukawa H, Osada Y, Wu WL (2007) Polymer 48:7449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Hellio-Serughetti D, Djabourov M (2006) Langmuir 22:8516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Tanaka F (2002) Development of Computer System for Predicting Phase Diagrams of Associating PolymersGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Tanaka F (2006) Theory of Molecular Association and Thermoreversible Gelation In: Weiss RG, Terech P (ed), Materials with Molecular Gels – Self-Assembled Fibrillar Networks. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Morita T, Narita T, Tokita M (2008) Food & Food Ingredients J Jpn 213:452Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Nishinari K (1997) Colloid & Polym Sci 275:1093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Miyoshi E, Nishinari K (1999) Progr Colloid Polym Sci 114:68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Kelarakis A, Mingvanish W, Daniel C, Li H, Haredaki V, Booth C, Hamley IW, Ryan AJ (2000) Phys Chem Chem Phys 2:2755CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Yin Y, Nishinari K, Zhang H, Funami T (2006) Macromol Rapid Commun 27:971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Li H, Yu G-E, Price C, Booth C, Hecht E, Hoffmann H (1997) Macromolecules 30:1347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Aoshima S, Sugihara S (2000) J Polym Sci Polym Chem 38:3962CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Shirakawa M, Yamatoya K, Nishinari K (1998) Food Hydrocolloids 12:25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Hvidt S, Joergensen EB, Brown W, Schillen K (1994) J Phys Chem 98:12320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Nishinari K, Koide S, Ogino K (1985) J Physique (France) 46:793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Jones L, Marques CM (1990) J Physique (France) 51:1113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Morris VJ, Kirby AR, Gunning AP (1999) Progr Colloid Polym Sci 114:102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Kawai S, Nitta Y, Nishinari K (2008) J Chem Phys 128:134903CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Menger FM, Caran KL (2000) J Am Chem Soc 122:11679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Hanabusa K, Matsumoto M, Kimura M, Kakehi A, Shirai H (2000) J Colloid Interface Sci 224:231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Shirakawa M, Fujita N, Shinkai S (2005) J Am Chem Soc 127:4164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Booth C, Attwood D, Price C (2006) Phys Chem Chem Phys 8:3612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Haraguchi K, Li H-J (2006) Macromolecules 39:1898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Nishinari K, Horiuchi H, Ishida K, Ikeda K, Date M, Fukada E (1980) Nippon Shokuhin Kogyo Gakkaishi 27:227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Coviello T, Palleschi A, Grassi M, Matricardi P, Bocchinfuso G, Alhaique F (2005) Molecules 10:6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Itoh K, Yahaba M, Takahashi A, Tsuruya R, Miyazaki S, Dairaku M, Togashi M, Mikami R, Attwood D (2008) Int J Pharm 356:95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Taylor C, Pearson JP, Draget KI, Dettmar PW, Smidsrød O (2004) Carbohydr Polym 59:189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
  77. 77.
    Anseth KS, Metters AT, Bryant SJ, Martens PJ, Elisseeff JH, Bowman CN (2002) J Control Rel 78:199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Polizzotti BD, Fairbanks BD, Anseth KS (2008) Biomacromolecules 9:1084CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food and Health Sciences, Graduate School of Human Life ScienceOsaka City UniversityOsakaJapan

Personalised recommendations