Equilibrium swelling of thermo-responsive copolymer microgels

A. D. Drozdov, J. De Claville Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Thermo-responsive (TR) hydrogels with a lower critical solution temperature swell strongly at temperatures below their volume phase transition temperature Tc and collapse above Tc. Biomedical application of these materials requires tuning the critical temperature in a rather wide interval. A facile method for modulation of Tc is to polymerize the basic monomers with hydrophilic or hydrophobic comonomers. Although the effectiveness of this method has been confirmed by experimental data, molar fractions of comonomers necessary for fine tuning of Tc in macroscopic gels and microgels are unknown. A simple model is developed for the equilibrium swelling of TR copolymer gels. Its adjustable parameters are found by fitting swelling diagrams on several macro-and microgels with N-isopropylacrylamide as a basic monomer. Good agreement is demonstrated between the experimental swelling curves and results of numerical analysis. An explicit expression is derived for the volume phase transition temperature as a function of molar fraction of comonomers. The ability of this relation to predict the critical temperature is confirmed by comparison with observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42718-42732
Number of pages15
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number70
StatePublished - 24 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Chemical Engineering (all)


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