Transparent crosslinked PVA hydrogels were prepared by electron beam irradiation of aqueous solutions under nitrogen. These weak hydrogels, upon swelling at 30°C in water, showed low elastic moduli (up to 50 psi), low ultimate tensile strength (up to 4 psi), and low extensibility to break (not higher than 85%). Values of the molecular weight between crosslinks Mc were calculated from swelling and from tensile experiments. In fact, two values of Mc were calculated for each swelling experiment, (a) allowing for observed variation in the polymer–solvent interaction parameter χ1 with concentration, and (b) fixing χ1 = 0.494 according to literature data. The correlation of the Mc obtained from tensile data with the Mc obtained from swelling data, by (a) or (b), was approximately linear and gave the same per cent agreement.
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