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Issue 22, 2014
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Aqueous worm gels can be reconstituted from freeze-dried diblock copolymer powder

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Abstract

Worm-like diblock copolymer nanoparticles comprising poly(glycerol monomethacrylate) (PGMA) as a stabilizer block and poly(2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate) (PHPMA) as a core-forming block were readily synthesized at 10% w/w solids via aqueous dispersion polymerization at 70 °C using Reversible Addition–Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) chemistry. On cooling to 20 °C, soft transparent free-standing gels are formed due to multiple inter-worm interactions. These aqueous PGMA–PHPMA diblock copolymer worms were freeze-dried, then redispersed in water with cooling to 3–5 °C before warming up to 20 °C; this protocol ensures molecular dissolution of the copolymer chains, which aids formation of a transparent aqueous gel. Rheology, SAXS and TEM studies confirm that such reconstituted gels comprise formed PGMA–PHPMA copolymer worms and they possess essentially the same physical properties determined for the original worm gels prior to freeze-drying. Such worm gel reconstitution is expected to be highly beneficial in the context of various biomedical applications, since it enables worm gels to be readily prepared using a wide range of cell growth media as the continuous aqueous phase.

Graphical abstract: Aqueous worm gels can be reconstituted from freeze-dried diblock copolymer powder

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Feb 2014, accepted on 27 Mar 2014 and first published on 02 Apr 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00415A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 3984-3992
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    Aqueous worm gels can be reconstituted from freeze-dried diblock copolymer powder

    M. K. Kocik, O. O. Mykhaylyk and S. P. Armes, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 3984
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00415A

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