Swelling of Thermo-Responsive Gels in Aqueous Solutions of Salts: A Predictive Model

A. D. Drozdov, J. deClaville Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The equilibrium degree of swelling of thermo-responsive (TR) gels is strongly affected by the presence of ions in an aqueous solution. This phenomenon plays an important role in (i) the synthesis of multi-stimuli-responsive gels for soft robotics, where extraordinary strength and toughness are reached by soaking of a gel in solutions of multivalent ions, and (ii) the preparation of hybrid gels with interpenetrating networks formed by covalently cross-linked synthetic chains and ionically cross-linked biopolymer chains. A model is developed for equilibrium swelling of a TR gel in aqueous solutions of salts at various temperatures T below and above the critical temperature at which collapse of the gel occurs. An advantage of the model is that it involves a a small (compared with conventional relations) number of material constants and allows the critical temperature to be determined explicitly. Its ability (i) to describe equilibrium swelling diagrams on poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) gels in aqueous solutions of mono- and multivalent salts and (ii) to predict the influence of volume fraction of salt on the critical temperature is confirmed by comparison of observations with results of numerical simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5177
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • aqueous solution of salt
  • modeling
  • swelling
  • thermo-responsive gel
  • volume phase transition temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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