In this work, gamma radiation was used to prepare hydrophilic hydrogels based on different mass ratios of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and methacrylic acid (MAc) monomer. The thermal stability of hydrogels was characterized thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The effect of temperature and pH, as external environments, on the equilibrium swelling of PEG/MAc hydrogels was also studied. The results showed that the gel fraction of PEG/MAc hydrogels is lower than that of PMAc hydrogel, in which the gel fraction of PMAc hydrogel was decreased greatly with increasing the mass ratio of PEG polymer in the initial solutions. The results showed that PEG/MAc hydrogels reached the equilibrium swelling state in water after 6 hours. It was found that the equilibrium swelling of PEG/MAc hydrogels displayed a transition change within the temperature range 30–40°C. This change in equilibrium swelling was illustrated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). However, it was observed that the equilibrium swelling of PEG/MAc hydrogels increases progressively with increasing the pH value from 4 up to 8. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010
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