Molecular Diffusion in Polysaccharide Gels

  • Qiuhua ZhaoEmail author
  • Yun Zhou
  • Faith B. A. Descallar
  • Shingo Matsukawa
Reference work entry


The basic theory and experimental methods used for diffusion measurements by pulsed field gradient NMR are described. Experimental results for the diffusion and NMR relaxation times of solutions and gels of agar, agarose, and carrageenans are presented and analyzed to provide physical pictures describing the gelation mechanism and network structures. Relaxation times for the polysaccharide chains gave information on the tumbling motions of the chains, and the diffusion coefficients of probe molecules in the polysaccharide gels provided information on the translational mobility of molecules, used to infer the structure of the gel network. By comparing the NMR results with the results obtained using other experimental methods, such as dynamic rheological measurements and DSC, a clear picture emerges of the gelation mechanism. This mechanism describes the microscopic events of aggregation, polymer immobilization, and changes in probe diffusion, as well as macroscopic (bulk) events, namely, gelation. The hydrodynamic shielding length, which represents the mesh size of the network, is a parameter within the mean field hydrodynamic approach that determines the D/D0 of probe molecules and is discussed in detail and used to describe the evolving structure of the gel network.


Agarose Carrageenan NMR relaxation times Gradient NMR Diffusion coefficient Hydrodynamic screening length 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiuhua Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yun Zhou
    • 1
  • Faith B. A. Descallar
    • 2
  • Shingo Matsukawa
    • 2
  1. 1.East China Normal UniversityMinhang Qu, Shanghai ShiChina
  2. 2.Tokyo University of Marine Science and TechnologyTokyoJapan

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