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Title: Thermoresponsive nanostructured poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) hydrogels made via inverse microemulsion polymerization
Author: Fernandez, V.V.A.
Tepale, N.
Sanchez-Diaz, J.C.
Mendizábal, E. M.
Puig, J.E.
Soltero, J.F.A.
Issue Date: 2006
Abstract: The synthesis of nanostructured poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (polyNIPA) hydrogels by a two-stage polymerization process is reported here. The process involves the synthesis of slightly crosslinked polyNIPA nanoparticles by inverse (w/o) microemulsion polymerization; then, these particles are dried, cleaned and dispersed in an aqueous solution of NIPA and a crosslinking agent (N, N-methylene-bis-acrylamide or NMBA) and polymerized to produce the nanostructured hydrogels. Their swelling and de-swelling kinetics, volume phase transition temperatures (TVPT) and mechanical properties at the equilibrium swollen state are investigated as a function of the weight ratio of polyNIPA particles to monomer (NIPA). The nanostructured gels exhibit larger equilibrium water uptake, faster swelling and de-swelling rates and similar TVPT than those of the conventional ones; moreover, the elastic and Young moduli are larger than those of the conventional hydrogels at similar swelling ratios. The fast swelling and de-swelling kinetics are explained in terms of the controlled inhomogeneities introduced by the method of synthesis. © Springer-Verlag 2005.
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