Alzari, Valeria and Monticelli, Orietta and Nuvoli, Daniele and Kenny, José Maria and Mariani, Alberto (2009) Stimuli responsive hydrogels prepared by frontal polymerization. Biomacromolecules, Vol. 10 (9), p. 2672-2677. eISSN 1526-4602. Article.
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Frontal polymerization was used as an alternative method for the easy and fast preparation of polymer hydrogels prepared from N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) and N-vinylcaprolactam (VCL), the latter being less toxic and less expensive than NIPAAm. All samples were characterized in terms of their swelling behavior, and their thermal properties were investigated by DSC. It was found that VCL influences both pore size and shape distribution. Moreover, also the swelling ratio of the materials is dependent on the monomer ratio. Eventually, by a comparison with analogous samples prepared by the classical polymerization technique, it was found that the two methods give rise to hydrogels characterized by very diverse swelling capability; furthermore, swelling reversibility was also found to be different when temperature is allowed to cyclically vary between values that are below and above the lower critical solution temperature. In particular, samples prepared by frontal polymerization are characterized by lower swelling ratio and larger swelling recovery capability.
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