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Swelling of micro-hydrogels with a crosslinker gradient

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Abstract

A heterogeneous distribution of crosslinker in micro-hydrogels (microgels) results in a non-uniform polymer density inside the particles. Identifying the morphology of the hydrogel backbone enables a bottom-up approach towards the structural and rheological properties of microgel systems. On a local level we use a Flory–Rehner inspired model that focuses on highly swollen networks, characterized by a Poisson's ratio of 1/4. Our ab initio calculations take account for the nonuniform distribution of crosslinker species during the synthesis of poly(N-isopropylacylamide) (PNIPAM) microgels, yet the method is also applicable to other microgel architectures. We recover a single-particle density profile that is in close agreement with SAXS data. Comparison with experimental data confirms that the surface of the cross-linked particle is decorated with dangling polymers ends of considerable size.

Graphical abstract: Swelling of micro-hydrogels with a crosslinker gradient

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Apr 2017, accepted on 06 Jun 2017 and first published on 06 Jun 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP02434G
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Advance Article
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    Swelling of micro-hydrogels with a crosslinker gradient

    N. Boon and P. Schurtenberger, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7CP02434G

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