Chain Release Behavior of Gellan Gels
The chain release behavior from gellan gels was studied by immersing the gel into water and monitoring the mass loss as a function of time. Concentration of released gellan in the external solution was determined for gels of different sizes using phenol-sulfuric acid method. The chain release process became faster with increasing total surface area and volume. However the concentration of released chain normalized by surface area and volume suggests that the chain release itself is governed not only by the ionic effect and the amount of unassociated chains in gel but other factors such as osmotic pressure may play an important role on the chain release from the gels. The diffusion coefficient was estimated from the chain release process which is in the same order of magnitude reported for an isolated gellan chain by light scattering. Rheological measurements also suggest that the unassociated gellan chains are released out when immersed in pure water while unassociated chains are restricted to release out when immersed in salt solution due to the intrusion of cations which is responsible for further association of the unassociated gellan chains being in agreement with the previously published results. The elastic modulus of gels was increased by immersion of gels in water and in salt solutions, which can be attributed as the stiffening of network chains due to gel swelling and the conversion from free and unassociated chains into network chains, respectively, leading to an increase in elastic modulus with time.
KeywordsChain release Gel erosion Gellan Rheology Diffusion
We thank Dr. M. Takemasa for his help in NMR and GPC-MALLS measurements, and Dr. T. Funami and Ms. S. Noda of San-Ei-Gen FFI for their help in ICP-mass measurement. We also acknowledge the funding of Osaka City University Priority Research Project and the encouragement and precious advice of P. G. de Gennes.
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