Thermoresponsive transport through ordered mesoporous silica/PNIPAAm copolymer membranes and microspheres.
Thermosensitive inorganic-organic hybrid polymers and gels can be used for controlled molecular transport in a variety of applications that require robust, mechanically stable materials. Silica and poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) precursors were copolymerized in the presence of surfactant supramolecular assemblies to form hybrid gels with ordered nanostructure. This method was less complicated and results in enhanced reversible transport properties compared to previous approaches noted herein. In this study, the thermoresponsive polymer, PNIPAAm, was incorporated into polymerizing silica networks using the coupling agent 3-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane. The hydration transition of PNIPAAm associated with its lower critical solution temperature (LCST) in aqueous solution was retained in the hydrated silica matrices and was used to control the permeability of membranes and molecular release behavior of particles. This report presents new methods for formation of hybrid silica/PNIPAAm membranes and particles, characterization of these materials, and documentation of reversible molecular transport properties of these new hybrid materials.
Fu, Q; Rao, GVR; Ward, TL; Lu, Y; Lopez, GP
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