Systematic tailoring of water absorption in photopolymerizable (meth)acrylate networks and its effect on mechanical properties



Photopolymerizable (meth)acrylate networks offer several advantages as biomedical materials including their ability to be formed in situ, fast synthesis rates, and tailorable material properties. The objective of this study was to identify how phosphate buffered saline (PBS) absorption affects the thermomechanical properties of a ternary (meth)acrylate network. Copolymers consisting of 2-hydroxyethyl (meth)acrylate (2HEMA), benzyl acrylate (BZA), and poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA; Mn ∼ 750) were synthesized under UV with varying weight ratios of 2HEMA to BZA. Each composition underwent dynamic mechanical analysis, tensile strain-to-failure testing, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis, and swelling measurements after 24-h immersion in PBS. Networks with higher 2HEMA concentrations absorbed larger amounts of PBS resulting in a larger decrease in the glass transition temperature. PBS absorption affects the mechanical properties of BZA-2HEMA-PEGDMA networks in a manner dependent upon the amount of PBS absorbed into the network. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013