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Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2004 Nov 15;38(3-4):191-6.

Microporous, fast response cellulose ether hydrogel prepared by freeze-drying.

Author information

  • 1Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Utsunomiya University, 7-1-2 Yoto, Utsunomiya 321-8585, Japan. katon@cc.utsunomiya-u.ac.jp

Abstract

A simple and effective method of preparing fast-response gels is developed. The freeze-drying and subsequent rehydration of thermosensitive gels alters the microstructural properties of the gels in a way that leads to rapid shrinking rates. Microporous hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) gels were created by this method to investigate the influence of the process on the swelling and shrinking kinetics of the gels in response to temperature changes. Micropores of different size ranges were produced by freezing gels with different amounts of water at -20 degrees C. Water content was the key factor to control the microporosity and the shrinking rates of gels. After the freezing treatment, an effective diffusion coefficient for shrinking could be determined by fitting Fick's law to the data (5.2 x 10(-4) cm2/s). This was an increase of two orders of magnitude over that of the untreated, non-porous gel (6.0 x 10(-6) cm2/s). The magnitude of the shrinking coefficient indicates that the shrinking rate of the microporous gel is probably limited by the convective flow, as unsteady flow through porous media follows the same differential equation as Fick's law, but with much greater transport coefficients, as observed here. Physically, the shrinking rate may be determined by the level of interconnected-cells in a microporous structure present at the beginning of shrinking process because the convection through the interconnected-cells is estimated to be much slower than the polymer network diffusion rate of the struts of micropores (0.1-3.0 microm) as well as heat transfer.

PMID:
15542324
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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