• crosslinking;
  • diffusion;
  • hydrogels;
  • networks;
  • swelling


Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Polymeric networks and the ensuing hydrogels of MAA and NVP were successfully synthesized using a UV-initiated free radical polymerization and characterized to assess their applicability as carriers for directed drug delivery. FT-IR spectroscopy revealed shifts in peak absorbances that indicated the presence of hydrogen bonding complexes between functional groups, while SEM imaging showed that the different comonomers affect the surface morphology of the microparticles. Dynamic pH swelling studies demonstrated the pH responsiveness of the carriers in gastric and intestinal conditions and revealed that systems containing higher concentrations of MAA experienced the highest degree of hydrogen bonding complexation in gastric conditions. The presence of NVP in the systems enhanced swelling. Equilibrium swelling studies revealed that the mesh size was sufficiently large to allow drug diffusion across the networks.