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Issue 2, 2012
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Thermoresponsive nanocomposite double network hydrogels

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The utility and efficacy of thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) hydrogels as smart materials is limited by their physical properties. In this study, we sought to design PNIPAAm nanocomposite hydrogels which displayed enhanced mechanical properties as well as deswelling–reswelling kinetics but without reducing equilibrium swelling or altering the convenient volume phase transition temperature (VPTT) of PNIPAAm. PNIPAAm hydrogels were formed as double networks (DN) comprised of a tightly crosslinked 1st network and a loosely crosslinked 2nd network. In addition, polysiloxane nanoparticles of two different average diameters (∼50 nm and ∼200 nm) were incorporated during formation of the 1st or 2nd network. The influence of the hydrogel composition on VPTT, morphology, equilibrium swelling, deswelling–reswelling kinetics and mechanical properties was evaluated. We observed that DN hydrogels formed with ∼200 nm polysiloxane nanoparticles introduced during formation of the 1st network achieved the best combination of the desired properties.

Graphical abstract: Thermoresponsive nanocomposite double network hydrogels

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Article information

13 Jun 2011
13 Oct 2011
First published
31 Oct 2011

Soft Matter, 2012,8, 481-487
Article type

Thermoresponsive nanocomposite double network hydrogels

R. Fei, J. T. George, J. Park and M. A. Grunlan, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 481
DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06105D

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