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Gels 2017, 3(1), 3; doi:10.3390/gels3010003

Responsive Hydrogels from Associative Block Copolymers: Physical Gelling through Polyion Complexation

1
Fachgebiet Physik weicher Materie, Physik-Department, Technische Universität München, James-Franck-Str. 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, 26504 Patras, Greece
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dirk Kuckling
Received: 14 October 2016 / Revised: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 6 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stimuli-Responsive Gels)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5252 KB, uploaded 1 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

The present review article highlights a specific class of responsive polymer-based hydrogels which are formed through association of oppositely charged polyion segments. The underpinning temporary three-dimensional network is constituted of hydrophilic chains (either ionic or neutral) physically crosslinked by ion pair formation arising from intermolecular polyionic complexation of oppositely charged repeating units (polyacid/polybase ionic interactions). Two types of hydrogels are presented: (i) hydrogels formed by triblock copolymers bearing oppositely charged blocks (block copolyampholytes), forming self-assembled networks; and (ii) hydrogels formed by co-assembly of oppositely charged polyelectrolyte segments belonging to different macromolecules (either block copolymers or homopolyelectrolytes). Due to the weak nature of the involved polyions, these hydrogels respond to pH and are sensitive to the presence of salts. Discussing and evaluating their solution, rheological and structural properties in dependence on pH and ionic strength, it comes out that the hydrogel properties are tunable towards potential applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical hydrogel; polyelectrolyte; pH-responsive; block polyampholyte; polyion association; ionic interactions; three-dimensional (3D) network physical hydrogel; polyelectrolyte; pH-responsive; block polyampholyte; polyion association; ionic interactions; three-dimensional (3D) network
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Papadakis, C.M.; Tsitsilianis, C. Responsive Hydrogels from Associative Block Copolymers: Physical Gelling through Polyion Complexation. Gels 2017, 3, 3.

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