Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, Vol.35, No.10, 2049-2053, 1997
Reversible Water-Swellable Chitin Gel
A novel, reversible, water-swellable chitin gel has been produced by the carboxymethylation of a dry chitin film. The property of this material is that unlike carboxymethyl-chitin, it takes up water but is not soluble and retains a degree of rigidity even when wet. The degree of swelling depends on the reaction conditions and alkali (sodium or potassium hydroxide) used as a co-reactant during the carboxymethylation. Upon drying, the gel returns to its dry film form. This water uptake and loss is cyclic, which is a desirable property in certain applications and is a tremendous advantage in the handling of this material.