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Keywords:

  • microgels;
  • N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM);
  • temperature-sensitive;
  • triethyleneglycol methacrylate (TREGMA)

Abstract

Two monomers containing functional [BOND]OH groups with different hydrophilic long side chains (viz., triethyleneglycol methacrylate (TREGMA) and polyethyleneglycol methacrylate (PEGMA)) were selected to modify the swelling/deswelling behavior of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAM) microgels. Dynamic scattering technique, turbidimetric method, and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were employed to investigate the deswelling behavior of the microgels. Experimental results show that the two series of microgels are identical in that incorporation of hydrophilic chains containing [BOND]OH groups causes the volume-phase transition temperature (VPTT) of pNIPAM microgels to shift to higher temperature; the more hydrophilic the side chains, the more the VPTTs shift. Although PEGMA are more effective in elevating the VPTTs of pNIPAM microgels than TREGMA, p(NIPAM-co-TREGMA) microgels show better deswelling properties than p(NIPAM-co-PEGMA) microgels, i.e., they have much larger deswelling ratios (α) and display less continuous volume-phase transition. The VPTTs of the modified microgels can be modulated to well close to the normal body temperature of human beings. These characteristics along with the functional [BOND]OH groups they contain make the microgels competitive candidates for biomaterials. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 43: 3575–3583, 2005