Langmuir, Vol.20, No.7, 2546-2552, 2004
Swelling-shrinking behavior of a polyampholyte gel composed of positively charged networks with immobilized polyanions
Polyampholyte gels were prepared by free radical polymerization of aqueous monomer solutions with the following composition: 69% N-isopropylacrylamide (thermosensitive neutral monomer), 1% N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide (cross-linker), 15% 1-vinylimidazole (cationic monomer), and either 15% acrylic acid (AAc, anionic monomer) or poly(acrylic acid) (PAAc, polyanion). We thus obtained two sorts of polyampholyte gels; that is, G1 with immobilized PAAc and G2 with randomly copolymerized AAc. The equilibrium swelling ratio (Q(e)) was studied as a function of the pH, NaCl concentration, and temperature. Also studied was the kinetics of swelling and shrinking in response to a sudden pH change. The significant results obtained were as follows: W A fully collapsed state was observed at pH 4.5-9.0 for G1 and at pH 4.5-7.0 for G2. (ii) Below and above these pH ranges, both gels were in a swollen state; therefore, an isoelectric point (pI) appeared in a wide pH range. (iii) At alkaline pH regions where a hysteresis was observed in the Q(e) versus pH curves of G1 and G2 as the pH was first increased then decreased, G1 exhibited very slow swelling-shrinking kinetics. (iv) An increase in the NaCl concentration allowed the gel to swell at pH similar to pI (antipolyelectrolyte behavior) but to shrink at pHs below and above the pl range (polyelectrolyte behavior). (v) The magnitude of the salt-induced shrinking of G1 is smaller than that of G2 at pH 10 and at NaCl concentrations > 0.01 M. (vi) At pH 10, an increase in the temperature from 35 to 50 degreesC led to a shrinking change of G1 but not of G2. These results were found to be explicable in terms of a different distribution of negative charges within the polyampholyte gel network.