, Volume 287, Issue 3, pp 299-312,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Jan 2009

Thermal property changes of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) microgel particles and block copolymers

Abstract

Investigation of the thermo-reversible properties of different poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) samples, including microgels and block copolymers, with a combination of methods such as electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, analytical ultracentrifugation, electrophoresis and ultrasound resonator technology allows comprehensive characterisation of the phase transition. By the combination of methods, it was possible to show that the precipitated polymer phase contains at 40 °C between 40 and 50 vol.% of water. Besides free bulk water, there is also bound water that strongly adheres to the N-isopropyl acrylamide units (about 25 vol.%). Ultrasound resonator technology, which is a non-sizing characterisation method, revealed for the microgel particles two more temperatures (at about 35 and between 40 °C and 50 °C depending on the chemical nature) where characteristic changes in the ultrasound attenuation take place. Moreover, the experimental data suggest that the phase transition temperature is related to surface charge density of the precipitated particles.