, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 39-52

Gelation behavior of polysaccharide-based interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) hydrogels

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Abstract

We report the preparation and rheological characterization of interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) hydrogels made from alginate and hydrophobically modified ethyl hydroxyl ethyl cellulose (HMEHEC). To our knowledge, there have been no studies of the gelation behavior of IPNs. We found that the rheology of these systems can be easily tuned, with the elastic modulus of the IPN strongly dependent on the relative ratio of HMEHEC to alginate. The sol–gel transition of these systems was found to satisfy the Winter–Chambon criterion for gelation at various crosslinker densities. From the power law relationship of the dynamic moduli (G ~G ~ω n), the exponent n appears to be dependent on both the crosslinker density and relative amount of two polymers. The value of n was found to be ~0.5 for all samples for stoichiometric amounts of crosslinker. The effect of molecular weight of HMEHEC on the gel point and viscoelastic exponent has also been reported. Alginate seems to dominate the kinetics of the process but the effect of high molecular weight HMEHEC on the gel point, especially at lower proportion was also evident.