Gelation kinetics of crosslinked gelatin



Experimental results have shown that the kinetics of bond formation in chemical crosslinking of gelatin solutions is strongly affected not only by gelatin and reactant concentrations but also by the solution pH. We present an extended numerical investigation of the phase diagram and of the kinetics of bond formation as a function of the pH, via Monte Carlo simulations of a lattice model for gelatin chains and reactant agent in solution. We find that gelation can be hindered either by loop formation, at low reactant concentrations, or by saturation of active sites of the chains via formation of single bonds with crosslinkers, at high reactant concentrations. The ratio of the characteristic times for the formation of first and the second bond between the crosslinker and an active site of a chain is found to depend on the reactant reactivity, in good agreement with experimental data. POLYM. COMPOS., 2013 © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers