Amphiphilic PVCL/TBCHA microgels: From synthesis to characterization in a highly selective solvent

Rustam A. Gumerov, Elisabeth Gau, Wenjing Xu, Andrea Melle, Sergei A. Filippov, Anastasia S. Sorokina, Nadja A. Wolter, Andrij Pich*, Igor I. Potemkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Thermoresponsive copolymer microgels based on the biocompatible monomer N-vinylcaprolactam (VCL) and the hydrophobic comonomer 4-tert-butylcyclohexylacrylate (TBCHA) with highly tunable comonomers ratio were for the first time synthesized by miniemulsion polymerization. Their physical properties in aqueous solution and at the solid interface were characterized using dynamic light scattering (DLS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) simulations. The results show a significant decrease of the swelling rate of the obtained microgels with an increase of the amount of the hydrophobic comonomer. In the case when the fraction of TBCHA is equal or higher than the fraction of VCL, the microgels become almost insensitive to the temperature changes, and the amount of water inside the microgels appeared to be diminishingly small. In the opposite case, if the VCL fraction is major, the copolymer microgels preserve their softness and deformability while being adsorbed onto a solid surface. At the same time, all samples have shown a good colloidal stability and a low polydispersity in size. Thus, the presented polymerization technique is applicable for the fabrication of microgels using hydrophobic monomers, which are not accessible by conventional precipitation polymerization. We demonstrate that the mechanical properties and the temperature-responsiveness of the copolymer microgels can be precisely adjusted by the content of the hydrophobic comonomer. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-356
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Volume564
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Amphiphilic microgels
  • Swelling and collapse
  • Synthesis
  • Characterization
  • Internal structure
  • Computer simulations
  • VOLUME-PHASE-TRANSITION
  • CORE-SHELL MICROGELS
  • RESPONSIVE MICROGELS
  • AQUEOUS MICROGELS
  • PARTICLES
  • TEMPERATURE
  • BEHAVIOR
  • DYNAMICS
  • POLY(N-VINYLCAPROLACTAM)
  • POLYMERIZATION

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