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Gels 2017, 3(1), 4; doi:10.3390/gels3010004

Thermoresponsive Gels

INsmart group, School of Pharmacy Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dirk Kuckling
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 10 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stimuli-Responsive Gels)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3066 KB, uploaded 10 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

Thermoresponsive gelling materials constructed from natural and synthetic polymers can be used to provide triggered action and therefore customised products such as drug delivery and regenerative medicine types as well as for other industries. Some materials give Arrhenius-type viscosity changes based on coil to globule transitions. Others produce more counterintuitive responses to temperature change because of agglomeration induced by enthalpic or entropic drivers. Extensive covalent crosslinking superimposes complexity of response and the upper and lower critical solution temperatures can translate to critical volume temperatures for these swellable but insoluble gels. Their structure and volume response confer advantages for actuation though they lack robustness. Dynamic covalent bonding has created an intermediate category where shape moulding and self-healing variants are useful for several platforms. Developing synthesis methodology—for example, Reversible Addition Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) and Atomic Transfer Radical Polymerisation (ATRP)—provides an almost infinite range of materials that can be used for many of these gelling systems. For those that self-assemble into micelle systems that can gel, the upper and lower critical solution temperatures (UCST and LCST) are analogous to those for simpler dispersible polymers. However, the tuned hydrophobic-hydrophilic balance plus the introduction of additional pH-sensitivity and, for instance, thermochromic response, open the potential for coupled mechanisms to create complex drug targeting effects at the cellular level. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoresponsive; micelle; hydrogel; organogel; UCST; LCST; multi-stimulus; drug delivery thermoresponsive; micelle; hydrogel; organogel; UCST; LCST; multi-stimulus; drug delivery
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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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Taylor, M.J.; Tomlins, P.; Sahota, T.S. Thermoresponsive Gels. Gels 2017, 3, 4.

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