Description: The polymer gels especially hydrogels have a very special structure and useful features such as unusual volume phase transition, compatibility with biological systems, and sensitivity to environmental stimuli (temperature, pH value, electric field, light and more), which lead to many potential applications in physical and biochemical fields. This research includes: (1) the theoretical and experimental studies of polymer gels on swelling kinetics, spinodal decomposition, and solution convection in gel matrix; (2) applications of polymer gels in wound dressing, tissue-simulating optical phantom and gel display. The kinetics of gel swelling has been theoretically analyzed by considering coupled motions of both solvent and polymer network. Analytical solutions of the solvent and the network movement are derived from collective diffusion equations for a long cylindrical and a large disk gel. Kinetics of spinodal decomposition of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPA) polymer gel is investigated using turbidity and ultrasonic techniques. By probing movement of domains, a possible time-dependent gel structure in the spinodal decomposition region is presented. Theoretical studies of solution convection in gel matrix have been done and more analysis on dimensionless parameters is provided. To enhance the drug uptake and release capacity of silicone rubber (SR), NIPA hydrogel particles have been incorporated into a SR membrane. This SR/NIPA composite gel has promising attributes for wound dressing and other uses. Tissue-simulating optical phantom has been synthesized and studied using NIPA solution trapped inside a hydrogel. Polymer gels with engineered surface patterns were implemented. NIPA gel deposited on the surface of an acrylamide gel can be used as responsive gel display. A dynamically measurement technique of local shear modulus and swelling ratio of gel is presented based on an engineered periodic surface pattern as square array.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Wang, Changjie
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Partner: UNT Libraries