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Thermo-Sensitive Hydrogel: Control of Hydrophilic-Hydrophobic Transition

Authors: Wanwipa Siriwatwechakul, Nutte Teraphongphom, Vatcharani Ngaotheppitak, Sureeporn Kunataned


The study investigated the hydrophilic to hydrophobic transition of modified polyacrylamide hydrogel with the inclusion of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIAM). The modification was done by mimicking micellar polymerization, which resulted in better arrangement of NIAM chains in the polyacrylamide network. The degree of NIAM arrangement is described by NH number. The hydrophilic to hydrophobic transition was measured through the partition coefficient, K, of Orange II and Methylene Blue in hydrogel and in water. These dyes were chosen as a model for solutes with different degree of hydrophobicity. The study showed that the hydrogel with higher NH values resulted in better solubility of both dyes. Moreover, in temperature above the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIAM)also caused the collapse of NIPAM chains which results in a more hydrophobic environment that increases the solubility of Methylene Blue and decreases the solubility of Orange II in the hydrogels with NIPAM present.

Keywords: partition coefficient, Thermo-sensitive hydrogel, the lower critical solution temperature (LCST), micellar polymerization

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