• clays;
  • composites;
  • hydrogels;
  • nanocomposites


A 24–1 fractional factorial design was used to evaluate the effect of some parameters, such as the acrylic acid (AA)/chitosan (CTS) molar ratio, crosslinker concentration, initiator concentration, and filler concentration, in the swelling capacity of superabsorbent hydrogel composites based on CTS-graft-poly(acrylic acid) and nontronite clay. The data from wide-angle X-ray scattering and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy confirmed the syntheses of the hydrogel composites. Main and interaction effects were analyzed by analysis of variance, F tests, and p values. We found that the AA/CTS and crosslinker were the most influential effects in the evaluated response. The proposed statistical model presented a high coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.985). In addition to the swelling kinetics, the effects of pH and salt for the both compositions (with and without filler), which presented the best water uptake, were evaluated. Both hydrogels showed responsive behavior in relation to the pH and the salt solution, presenting good potential for application as devices in the controlled release of solutes. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013