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Keywords:

  • pH sensitivity;
  • hydrogel;
  • semi-interpenetrating polymer network (semi-IPN);
  • chitosan;
  • poly(methacrylic acid)

Abstract

A novel semi-interpenetrating polymer network (semi-IPN) hydrogel composed of chitosan and poly(methacrylic acid) was synthesized using formaldehyde as a crosslinker. The amount of crosslinker was searched and optimized. The structure of the hydogel was investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The spectrum shows that a structure of polyelectrolyte complex exists in the hydrogel. The effects of pH, ionic strength, and inorganic salt on the swelling behaviors of the hydrogel were studied. The results indicate the hydrogel has excellent pH sensitivity in the range of pH 1.40 to 4.50, pH reversible response between pH 1.80 and 6.80, and ionic strength reversible response between ionic strength 0.2 and 2.0M. The results also show that the hydrogel has a bit higher swelling capacity in a mix solution of calcium chloride (CaCl2) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) solution than in a mix solution of sodium chloride (NaCl) and HCl. These results were further confirmed through morphological change measured by scanning electron microscope (SEM). © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 98: 1720–1726, 2005