Key words Microgel particles
Copolymer latex particles
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
Abstract A comparison of the swelling behaviour of two types of hydrogel particles, namely, random poly[(acrylic acid)-co-(acrylamide)] [P(AAc-co-AAm)] particles and PAAc/PAAm interpenetrating network (IPN) particles, has been made using temperature and pH as the triggers. Both types of particles were synthesised by inverse microemulsion polymerisation. The conversion yield of AAc was found to be around 60 wt% due to the partition of this monomer between the aqueous and organic phases. The AAc content was thus lower in the final particles than in the initial composition. Both types of hydrogel particle exhibit an upper critical solution temperature associated with the breakage of the polymer–polymer hydrogen bonds. The maximum swelling ratio occurred in both cases at approximately equimolar AAc and AAm content of the particles. A sharper swelling transition was observed for the PAAc/PAAm IPN particles. This is because of the co-operative nature of the interactions between the PAAc and PAAm chains, the so-called “zipper effect”. A very much higher swelling ratio was obtained using pH as the trigger compared to using temperature. This difference in behaviour is related to the relative strengths of the forces involved in the particle swelling. Electrostatic repulsion forces, associated with the AAc dissociation with increasing pH, are much stronger than the hydrogen bonds.
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