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Retention of the original LLC structure in a cross-linked poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogel with reinforcement from a silica network

journal contribution
posted on 28.07.2014, 00:00 authored by Jane ZhangJane Zhang, Z Xie, M Hoang, A J Hill, Weiwei Cong, Fenghua SheFenghua She, Weimin Gao, Lingxue KongLingxue Kong
Cross-linked poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogels with uniformly controlled nanoporous structures templated from hexagonal lyotropic liquid crystals (LLC) represent separation membrane materials with potentially high permeability and selectivity due to their high pore density and narrow pore size distribution. However, retaining LLC templated nanostructures is a challenge as the polymer gels are not strong enough to sustain the surface tension during the drying process. In the current study, cross-linked PEGDA gels were reinforced with a silica network synthesized via an in situ sol-gel method, which assists in the retention of the hexagonal LLC structure. The silica precursor does not obstruct the formation of hexagonal phases. After surfactant removal and drying, these hexagonal structures in samples with a certain amount of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) loading are well retained while the nanostructures are collapsed in samples without silica reinforcement, leading to the hypothesis that the reinforcement provided by the silica network stabilizes the LLC structure. The study examines the conditions necessary for a sufficient and well dispersed silica network in PEGDA gels that contributes to the retention of original LLC structures, which potentially enables broad applications of these gels as biomedical and membrane materials.

History

Journal

Soft matter

Volume

10

Issue

28

Pagination

5192 - 5200

Publisher

Royal Society of Chemistry Publications

Location

Cambridge, England

ISSN

1744-683X

eISSN

1744-6848

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, RSC Publications