This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2014 

Physical Hydrogels via Charge Driven Self-Organization of a Triblock Polyampholyte - Rheological and Structural Investigations
Dyakonova, M. A. (Corresponding Author)
Stavrouli, N. / Popescu, M. T. / Kyriakos, K. / Grillo, I. / Philipp, M. / Jaksch, S. / Tsitsilianis, C. / Papadakis, C. M.
Neutronenstreuung; ICS-1
Neutronenstreuung; JCNS-1
Biotechnologie Technische und administrative Infrastruktur IBG-1; IBG-1-TA
Macromolecules, 47 (2014) 21, S. 7561 - 7572
Washington, DC Soc. 2014
Journal Article
Please use the identifier: in citations.
We investigate the conformational properties of stimuli-responsive hydrogels from triblock polyelectrolytes PtBA-b-P2VP-b-PtBA (PtBA and P2VP are poly(tert-butyl acrylate) and poly(2-vinylpyridine)) and the corresponding polyampholytes PAA-b-P2VP-b-PAA (PAA is poly(acrylic acid)), the latter with nonquaternized or quaternized P2VP blocks. The block lengths are the same in all three polymers with relatively short end blocks and long middle blocks. The mechanical properties of the hydrogels have previously been found to depend strongly on the pH value and on the nature of the blocks ( Polymer 2008, 49, 1249). Here, we present results from rheological studies and small-angle neutron scattering revealing the underlying hydrogel structures. The hydrogel structure of the polyampholyte depends on the charge asymmetry, controlled by the pH value, and reveals several transitions with increasing charge ratio. A low charge asymmetry causes the collapse of the chains into large globular structures due to the fluctuation-induced attractions between oppositely charged moieties. In contrast, at higher charge asymmetry, a network is formed. The latter is also found for the polyelectrolyte system. These results demonstrate the origin of the strong changes in mechanical properties upon change of pH.