Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.381, 107-115, 2012
Dual cross-linked networks hydrogels with unique swelling behavior and high mechanical strength: Based on silica nanoparticle and hydrophobic association
A series of physically cross-linked hydrogels composed poly(acrylic acid) and octylphenol polyoxyethylene acrylate with high mechanical strength are reported here with dual cross-linked networks that formed by silica nanoparticles (SNs) and hydrophobic association micro-domains (HAMDs). Acrylic acid (AA) and octylphenol polyoxyethylene acrylate with 10 ethoxyl units (OP-10-AC) as basic monomers in situ graft from the SNs surface to build poly(acrylic acid) hydrophilic backbone chains with randomly distributed OP-10-AC hydrophobic side chains. The entanglements among grafted backbone polymer chains and hydrophobic branch architecture lead to the SNs and HAMDs play the role of physical cross-links for the hydrogels network structure. The rheological behavior and polymer concentration for gelation process are measured to examine the critical gelation conditions. The correlation of the polymer dual cross-linked networks with hydrogels swelling behavior, gel-to-sol phase transition, and mechanical strength are addressed, and the results imply that the unique dual cross-linking networks contribute the hydrogels distinctive swelling behavior and excellent tensile strength. The effects of SNs content, molecular weight of polymer backbone, and temperature on hydrogels properties are studied, and the results indicate that the physical hydrogel network integrity is depended on the SNs and HAMDs concentration. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.