Modulation of the volume phase transition temperature for multi-stimuli-responsive copolymer hydrogels

Aleksey D. Drozdov, Jesper deClaville Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Thermo-responsive (TR) hydrogels of the LCST (low critical solution temperature) type swell noticeably below their volume phase transition temperature Tc and collapse above Tc. Biomedical applications of these gels (in particular, for controlled delivery of nuclear acids and genes) require fine tuning of the critical temperature. Modulation of Tc is conventionally performed by copolymerization of TR monomers with monomers whose hydrophilicity is higher or lower than that of the main monomers. The most pronounced changes in Tc are observed when TR monomers are copolymerized with anionic or cationic monomers. Introduction of polyelectrolyte monomers into the polymer network induces a strong dependence of its properties on pH and ionic strength of an aqueous solution. A constitutive model is developed to describe the effects of pH and molar fraction of salt in a solution on the critical temperature of TR polyelectrolyte hydrogels. Adjustable parameters are found by fitting equilibrium swelling diagrams on copolymer gels with strongly and weakly dissociating cationic functional groups. The ability of the model to predict Tc is confirmed by comparison of experimental data with results of simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106753
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Sciences
Volume211
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Copolymer gel
  • Polyelectrolyte
  • Stimuli-responsive gel
  • Swelling
  • Volume phase transition temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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