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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Feb 14;10(6):5845-5852. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b15934. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Ionic Conductivity of Polyelectrolyte Hydrogels.

Author information

1
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Akron , Akron, Ohio 44325, United States.
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago , Chicago, Illinois 60607, United States.
3
Key Laboratory of Carbon Fiber and Functional Polymers, Ministry of Education and Beijing Laboratory of Biomedical Materials, Beijing University of Chemical Technology , Beijing 100029 China.

Abstract

Polyelectrolytes have many important functions in both living organisms and man-made applications. One key property of polyelectrolytes is the ionic conductivity due to their porous networks that allow the transport of water and small molecular solutes. Among polyelectrolytes, zwitterionic polymers have attracted huge attention for applications that involve ion transport in a polyelectrolyte matrix; however, it is still unclear how the functional groups of zwitterionic polymer side chains affect their ion transport and swelling properties. In this study, zwitterionic poly(carboxybetaine acrylamide), poly(2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine), and poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate) hydrogels were synthesized and their ionic conductivity was studied and compared to cationic, anionic, and nonionic hydrogels. The change of the ionic conductivity of zwitterionic and nonionic hydrogels in different saline solutions was investigated in detail. Zwitterionic hydrogels showed much higher ionic conductivity than that of the widely used nonionic poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate hydrogel in all tested solutions. For both cationic and anionic hydrogels, the presence of mobile counterions led to high ionic conductivity in low salt solutions; however, the ionic conductivity of zwitterionic hydrogels surpassed that of cationic and ionic hydrogels in high salt solutions. Cationic and anionic hydrogels showed much higher water content than that of zwitterionic hydrogels in deionized water; however, the cationic hydrogels shrank significantly with increasing saline concentration. This work provides insight into the effects of polyelectrolyte side chains on ion transport. This can guide us in choosing better polyelectrolytes for a broad spectrum of applications, including bioelectronics, neural implants, battery, and so on.

KEYWORDS:

anionic; cationic; hydrogel; ionic conductivity; polyelectrolyte; zwitterionic

PMID:
29384644
DOI:
10.1021/acsami.7b15934

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