JOURNAL OF MACROMOLECULAR SCIENCE PART A-PURE AND APPLIED CHEMISTRY, vol.43, no.10, pp.1635-1649, 2006 (SCI-Expanded)
The swelling behavior of acrylamide (AAm) - based polyampholyte hydrogels in water and in aqueous salt ( NaCl) solutions was investigated. [(Methacrylamido) propyl] trimethylammonium chloride ( MAPTAC) and acrylic acid (AAc) were used as the ionic comonomer in the hydrogel preparation. Three sets of hydrogels containing 70 mol% AAm and 30 mol% ionic comonomers of varying mole ratios were prepared. The variations of the hydrogel volume in response to changes in pH, and salt concentration were measured. As pH increases from 1, the hydrogel volume V-eq in water first increases and reaches a maximum value at a certain pH. Then, it decreases again with a further increase in pH and attains a minimum value around the isoelectric point (IEP). After passing the collapsed plateau region, the gel reswells again up to pH = 7.1. The reswelling of the collapsed gels containing 10 and 4% MAPTAC occurs as a first-order phase transition at pH = 5.85 and 4.35, respectively, while the hydrogel with 1% MAPTAC reswells continuously beyond its IEP. Depending on pH of the solution, the hydrogels immersed in salt solutions exhibit typical polyelectrolyte or antipolyelectrolye behavior. The experimental swelling data were compared with the predictions of the Flory-Rehner theory of swelling equilibrium including the ideal Donnan equilibria. It was shown that the equilibrium swelling theory qualitatively predicts the experimental behavior of polyampholyte hydrogels.