, Volume 264, Issue 7, pp 595-601

Morphology and structure of highly elastic poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel prepared by repeated freezing-and-melting

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Morphology and structure of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) hydrogel prepared by the “repeated freezing-and-melting” method have been investigated by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, light-optical microscopy, and simple tension test. The PVA aqueous solution gelled highly by using this method to show rubber-like elasticity, reflecting the gel network in which the amorphous chains are physically cross-linked by the crystallites. The gel morphology was characterized by the porous structure, which was originated from the gelation of continuous PVA-rich solution phase segregated around copious ice crystal phases formed upon freezing. The high gelling ability involved in this method was closely related to the segregation mechanism.