• chitosan;
  • poly(acrylic acid);
  • hydrogels;
  • networks;
  • photopolymerization


This study investigates the improved swelling behavior of chitosan/poly(acrylic acid) complex by solvent (methanol, ethanol, and acetone) extraction. The complex is developed by photoinitiated free-radical polymerization of acrylic acid in the presence of chitosan. The swelling ratio of the complexes depends on the cosolvency effect of poly(acrylic acid) to the extracted solvent, which in turn affects the polymer network structure and ionic states characterized by dynamic force microscopy (DFM), Raman, and FT-IR spectroscopy. The DFM investigation displays the improved structural changes of the polymer network structure after solvent extraction and its relation to the improved swelling property of the chosen system in different environmental conditions (pH, solvent, and salt concentration) are discussed. A high swelling ratio of about 600 times its dry weight is observed in water as well as in low salt and solvent concentration after methanol extraction. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 92: 2930–2940, 2004