The mechanism of adhesion and graft polymerization of a PNIPAAm thermoresponsive hydrogel to polypropylene meshes†
In this study, a commercial and fully flexible monofilament mesh has been used for the deposition of a thermosensitive hydrogel, generated by graft copolymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) and N,N′-methylene bis(acrylamide) (MBA) monomers. The mechanism of adhesion and graft copolymerization have been elucidated combining micro- and standard spectroscopy techniques such as Raman spectroscopy, FTIR spectroscopy and XPS, before and after the activation of the polypropylene (PP) fibre surface by using oxygen-plasma. The good covalent interactions among NIPAAm monomers and PP fibres, and the hydrogel chain growth in such flexible bidimensional structures, were demonstrated. Additionally, the thermoresponsive properties of PNIPAAm were obtained (VPTT behaviour). The bilayer system is stable below and above a low critical solution temperature (LCST) of 33.2 °C.