Thermo-responsive gels that absorb moisture and ooze water.
ABSTRACT: The water content of thermo-responsive hydrogels can be drastically altered by small changes in temperature because their polymer chains change from hydrophilic to hydrophobic above their low critical solution temperature (LCST). In general, such smart hydrogels have been utilized in aqueous solutions or in their wet state, and no attempt has been made to determine the phase-transition behavior of the gels in their dried states. Here we demonstrate an application of the thermo-responsive behavior of an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) gel comprising thermo-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and hydrophilic sodium alginate networks in their dried states. The dried IPN gel absorbs considerable moisture from air at temperatures below its LCST and oozes the absorbed moisture as liquid water above its LCST. These phenomena provide energy exchange systems in which moisture from air can be condensed to liquid water using the controllable hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties of thermo-responsive gels with a small temperature change.
Project description:Thermo-responsive hydrogel is an important smart material. However, its slow thermal response rate limits the scope of its applications. Boron nitride nanosheet-reinforced thermos-responsive hydrogels, which can be controlled by heating, were fabricated by in situ polymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide in the presence of boron nitride nanosheets. The hydrogels exhibit excellent thermo-responsiveness and much enhanced thermal response rate than that of pure poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) hydrogels. Interestingly, the hydrogels can be driven to move in aqueous solution by heating. Importantly, the composite hydrogel is hydrophilic at a temperature below lower critical solution temperature (LCST), while it is hydrophobic at a temperature above LCST. Therefore, it can be used for quick absorption and release of dyes and oils from water. All these properties demonstrate the potential of hydrogel composites for water purification and treatment.
Project description:The chemisorption process with amines is the major separation and recovery method of CO2 because of its high processing capacity and simplicity. However, large energy consumption for the desorption of CO2 is also associated with the process. To develop a separation and recovery process that is capable of desorbing CO2 at low temperatures and with minimal energy consumption, polymer hydrogels with a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) polymer network and amine groups immobilized in the polymer network of the hydrogels were exploited. Thermo-responsive amine gels with a series of hydrophobicity of polymer networks were systematically synthesized, and the influence of the hydrophobicity of the gels on the CO2 desorption temperature and cycle capacity (CO2 amount that can be separated and recovered by 1 cycle of temperature swing operation) was investigated using slurries with the series of gels. A significant decrease in the CO2 desorption temperature and increase in the cycle capacity occurred simultaneously by lowering the LCST of the gels via hydrophobisation of the polymer network. Based on an equilibrium adsorption model representing the CO2 separation and a recovery system with the gel slurries, an analysis of the system dynamics was performed in order to understand the recovery mechanism in the process.
Project description:A novel crosslinker [4,4'-dihydroxybiphenyl diacrylate (44BDA)] was developed, and a series of temperature-responsive hydrogels were synthesized through free radical polymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) with 44BDA. The temperature-responsive behavior of the resulting gels was characterized by swelling studies, and the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of the hydrogels was characterized through differential scanning calorimetry. Increased content of 44BDA led to a decreased swelling ratio and shifted the LCST to lower temperatures. These novel hydrogels also displayed resiliency through multiple swelling-deswelling cycles, and their temperature responsiveness was reversible. The successful synthesis of NIPAAm-based hydrogels crosslinked with 44BDA has led to a new class of temperature-responsive hydrogel systems with a variety of potential applications.
Project description:Self-healing hydrogels have drawngreat attention in the past decade since the self-healing property is one of the characteristics of living creatures. In this study, poly(acrylamide-stat-diacetone acrylamide) P(AM-stat-DAA) with a pendant ketone group was synthesized from easy accessible monomers, and thermo-responsive self-healing hydrogels were prepared through a series of diacylhydrazide compounds cross-linking without any additional stimulus. Although the copolymers do not show thermo-response, the hydrogels became thermo-responsive andboth the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) and upper critical solution temperature (UCST) varied with the composition of the copolymer and structure of cross-linkers. With a dynamic covalent bond connection, the hydrogel showed gel-sol-gel transition triggered by acidity, redox, and ketone to acylhydrazide group ratios. This is another interesting cross-linking induced thermo-responsive (CIT) hydrogel with different properties compared to PNIPAM-based thermo-responsive hydrogels. The self-healing hydrogel with CIT properties could have great potential for application in areas related to bioscience, life simulation, and temperature switching.
Project description:In this study, varying concentrations of linear pNIPAAM have been incorporated for the first time into a thermo-responsive polymeric ionic liquid (PIL) hydrogel, namely tributyl-hexyl phosphonium 3-sulfopropylacrylate (P-SPA), to produce semi-interpenetrating polymer networks. The thermal properties of the resulting hydrogels have been investigated along with their thermo-induced shrinking and reswelling capabilities. The semi-interpenetrating networks (IPN) hydrogels were found to have improved shrinking and reswelling properties compared with their PIL counterpart. At elevated temperatures (50-80 °C), it was found that the semi-IPN with the highest concentration of hydrophobic pNIPAAM exhibited the highest shrinking percentage of ~40% compared to the conventional P-SPA, (27%). This trend was also found to occur for the reswelling measurements, with semi-IPN hydrogels producing the highest reswelling percentage of ~67%, with respect to its contracted state. This was attributed to an increase in water affinity due to the presence of hydrophilic pNIPAAM. Moreover, the presence of linear pNIPAAM in the polymer matrix leads to improved shrinking and reswelling response compared to the equivalent PIL.
Project description:The swelling properties and thermal transition of hydrogels can be tailored by changing the hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance of polymer networks. Especially, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) has received attention as thermo-responsive hydrogels for tissue engineering because its hydrophobicity and swelling property are transited around body temperature (32 °C). In this study, we investigated the potential of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) as a hydrophilic co-monomer and crosslinker of PNIPAm to enhance biological properties of PNIPAm hydrogels. The swelling ratios, lower critical solution temperature (LCST), and internal pore structure of the synthesized p(NIPAm-co-PEGDA) hydrogels could be varied with changes in the molecular weight of PEGDA and the co-monomer ratios (NIPAm to PEGDA). We found that increasing the molecular weight of PEGDA showed an increase of pore sizes and swelling ratios of the hydrogels. In contrast, increasing the weight ratio of PEGDA under the same molecular weight condition increased the crosslinking density and decreased the swelling ratios of the hydrogels. Further, to evaluate the potential of these hydrogels as cell sheets, we seeded bovine chondrocytes on the p(NIPAm-co-PEGDA) hydrogels and observed the proliferation of the seed cells and their detachment as a cell sheet upon a decrease in temperature. Based on our results, we confirmed that p(NIPAm-co-PEGDA) hydrogels could be utilized as cell sheets with enhanced cell proliferation performance.
Project description:Novel thermo-responsive ABA-type triblock copolymers (poly(NAAMen-b-NAGMe240-b-NAAMen), n = 18-72) composed of naturally occurring amino acid-based vinyl polymer blocks such as poly(N-acryloyl-l-alanine methyl ester (poly(NAAMe)) as the A segment and poly(N-acryloyl-glycine methylester)(poly(NAGMe)) as the B segment have been synthesized by the atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). Their thermal behaviors were analyzed in dilute aqueous solutions by turbidimetry. The turbidity curves provided two-step LCST transitions, and a flower-like micelle formation was confirmed at the temperature region between the first and second LCST transitions by dynamic light scattering, AFM and TEM. At higher copolymer concentrations, hydrogels were obtained at temperatures above the first LCST due to network formation induced with the flower-like micelles as cross-linker. The hydrogels were found to be switched to a sol state when cooled below the first LCST. These hydrogels also exhibited self-healable and injectable capabilities, which were evaluated by rheological measurements.
Project description:Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) is a popular polymer widely used in smart hydrogel synthesis due to its thermo-responsive behavior in aqueous medium. Aqueous PNIPAM hydrogels can reversibly swell and collapse below and above their lower critical solution temperature (LCST), respectively. The present work used molecular dynamics simulations to explore the behavior of water molecules surrounding the side chains of a NIPAM pentamer in response to temperature changes (273-353 K range) near its experimental LCST (305 K). Results suggest a strong inverse correlation of temperature with water density and hydrophobic hydration character of the first coordination shell around the isopropyl groups. Integrity of the first and second coordination shells is further characterized by polygon ring analysis. Predominant occurrence of pentagons suggests clathrate-like behavior of both shells at lower temperatures. This predominance is eventually overtaken by 4-membered rings as temperature is increased beyond 303 and 293 K for the first and second coordination shells, respectively, losing their clathrate-like property. It is surmised that this temperature-dependent stability of the coordination shells is one of the important factors that controls the reversible swell-collapse mechanism of PNIPAM hydrogels.
Project description:We report on the synthesis and structure-property relations of a novel, dual-responsive organometallic poly(ionic liquid) (PIL), consisting of a poly(ferrocenylsilane) backbone of alternating redox-active, silane-bridged ferrocene units and tetraalkylphosphonium sulfonate moieties in the side groups. This PIL is redox responsive due to the presence of ferrocene in the backbone and also exhibits a lower critical solution temperature (LCST)-type thermal responsive behavior. The LCST phase transition originates from the interaction between water molecules and the ionic substituents and shows a concentration-dependent, tunable transition temperature in aqueous solution. The PIL's LCST-type transition temperature can also be influenced by varying the redox state of ferrocene in the polymer main chain. As the polymer can be readily cross-linked and is easily converted into hydrogels, it represents a new dual-responsive materials platform. Interestingly, the as-formed hydrogels display an unusual, strongly hysteretic volume-phase transition indicating useful thermal memory properties. By employing the dispersing abilities of this cationic PIL, CNT-hydrogel composites were successfully prepared. These hybrid conductive composite hydrogels showed bi-stable states and tunable resistance in heating-cooling cycles.
Project description:During the last few decades, wet adhesives have been developed for applications in various fields. Nonetheless, key questions such as the most suitable polymer architecture as well as the most suitable chemical composition remain open. In this article, we investigate the underwater adhesion properties of novel responsive polymer brushes with side graft chain architecture prepared using "grafting through" approach on flat surfaces. The incorporation in the backbone of thermo-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) allowed us to obtain LCST behavior in the final layers. PNIPAm is co-polymerized with poly(methyl ethylene phosphate) (PMEP), a poloyphosphoester. The final materials are characterized studying the surface-grafted polymer as well as the polymer from the bulk solution, and pure PNIPAm brush is used as reference. PNIPAm-g-PMEP copolymers retain the responsive behavior of PNIPAm: when T > LCST, a clear switching of properties is observed. More specifically, all layers above the critical temperature show collapse of the chains, increased hydrophobicity and variation of the surface charge even if no ionizable groups are present. Secondly, effect of adhesion parameters such as debonding rate and contact time is studied. Thirdly, the reversibility of the adhesive properties is confirmed by performing adhesion cycles. Finally, the adhesive properties of the layers are studied below and above the LCST against hydrophilic and hydrophobic substrates.