Rheological studies of thermosensitive triblock copolymer hydrogels

T. Vermonden, N.A.M. Besseling, M.J. van Steenbergen, W.E. Hennink

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Hydrogel formation by physical cross-linking is a developing area of research toward materials suitable for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. Polymers exhibiting lower critical solution temperature (LCST) behavior in aqueous solution are used in this study to prepare hydrogels. Four triblock copolymers (ABA) with thermosensitive poly(N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide lactate) A-blocks and a hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) B-block have been synthesized. The molecular weight of the hydrophilic PEG block was fixed at 10 kDa, whereas the molecular weight of the pHPMAm - lactate block was varied between 10 and 20 kDa. The rheological characteristics of these polymer hydrogels were studied as a function of temperature, concentration, and the length of the thermosensitive blocks. Gelation occurred rapidly upon increasing the temperature to 37°C, which makes this system suitable as an injectable formulation. The gels became stronger with increasing temperature and concentration, and moreover they behaved as critical gels, which means that G¿ and G¿ follow power laws over the entire frequency range. Surprisingly, with increasing length of the thermosensitive blocks, weaker hydrogels were formed. This trend can be explained by the cross-link density of the physical network, which increases with decreasing length of the thermosensitive blocks
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10180-10184
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • aqueous-solutions
  • gel point
  • poly(ethylene glycol)
  • polymeric micelles
  • viscoelasticity
  • dependence
  • systems

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    Vermonden, T., Besseling, N. A. M., van Steenbergen, M. J., & Hennink, W. E. (2006). Rheological studies of thermosensitive triblock copolymer hydrogels. Langmuir, 22(24), 10180-10184. https://doi.org/10.1021/la062224m