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Mechanical characteristics of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogels crosslinked with various difunctional compounds

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Poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogels were prepared in the presence of 30 wt% water using two series of crosslinking agents including divinylic (ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate, 1,4-butanediol dimethacrylate, 2,3-dihydroxybutanediol 1,4-dimethacrylate) and diallylic (1,5-hexadiene-3,4-diol and 1,5-hexadiene) compounds, over a concentration range between 0.1 and 5 mol%. The resulting polymers were swollen in water to yield homogeneous transparent hydrogels. These hydrogels were characterised in terms of equilibrium swelling in water, tensile properties and compression stress–strain measurements. The influences of the nature and the concentration of crosslinking agent on the swelling behaviour and the mechanical properties of these hydrogels were investigated. The crosslinking efficiency of two representative agents (ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate and 1,5-hexadiene-3,4-diol) was quantified by compression experiments. A much lower crosslinking efficiency (0.013) was observed for 1,5-hexadiene-3,4-diol than for ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate (0.336). It is suggested that the low crosslinking efficiency of diallylic agents is responsible for a trend in properties different from that displayed by the gels crosslinked with dimethacrylates. A comparison was made to the similar effect observed previously in heterogeneous PHEMA hydrogels.

© 2001 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: crosslinking density; crosslinking efficiency; hydrogels; mechanical properties; poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate); swelling behaviour

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biomaterials and Polymer Research, Lions Eye Institute and Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of Western Australia, Australia

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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