• crosslinking;
  • membranes;
  • polyelectrolytes


Crosslinked chitosan membranes were prepared with a relatively low degree of crosslinking with epichlorohydrin and glutaraldehyde as crosslinking agents under heterogeneous and homogeneous conditions, respectively. The tensile properties, crystallinity, swelling index, and ionic conductivity of the crosslinked membranes were investigated. A significant decrease in the crystallinity and a large change in the swelling ratio of the crosslinked membrane were observed. In comparison with the uncrosslinked chitosan membrane, when the chitosan membrane was crosslinked with an appropriate degree of crosslinking under homogeneous conditions, its ionic conductivity after hydration for 1 h at room temperature increased by about one order of magnitude. In addition, with a lower concentration of the crosslinking agent, the tensile strength and breaking elongation of the crosslinked membrane were almost unchanged. Moreover, up to a critical value, the tensile strength of the membrane increased gradually, and the breaking elongation decreased slowly. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 89: 306–317, 2003