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Issue 13, 2009
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Smart hydrogels based on double responsive triblock terpolymers

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Abstract

In this work a new kind of “smart” hydrogel is presented, which is composed of a poly(2-vinylpyridine)-block-poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(glycidyl methyl ether-co-ethyl glycidyl ether) (P2VP-b-PEO-b-P(GME-co-EGE)) triblock terpolymer. The thermo-sensitive poly(glycidyl methyl ether-co-ethyl glycidyl ether) block exhibits a cloud point which is easily adjustable by the comonomer ratio. Copolymerization of GME and EGE produces nearly statistical copolymers with a weak preferential incorporation of GME, exhibiting a sharp coil-to-globule transition with almost no hysteresis. The triblock terpolymers aggregate in aqueous solution triggered by both pH and temperature. At sufficiently high concentration this stimuli-responsive behaviour leads to a reversible gel formation with gel strengths and transition points tuneable by pH, temperature, concentration, and block lengths. At pH = 7, an unique gel–sol–gel transition accompanied with a strengthening of the gel is observed upon heating using rheology. Moreover, the structure of the low temperature gel phase is investigated by means of small-angle neutron scattering (SANS).

Graphical abstract: Smart hydrogels based on double responsive triblock terpolymers

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Article information


Submitted
13 Jan 2009
Accepted
19 Mar 2009
First published
22 Apr 2009

Soft Matter, 2009,5, 2648-2657
Article type
Paper

Smart hydrogels based on double responsive triblock terpolymers

S. Reinicke, J. Schmelz, A. Lapp, M. Karg, T. Hellweg and H. Schmalz, Soft Matter, 2009, 5, 2648
DOI: 10.1039/B900539K

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