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Synthetic water-borne, reversible gels: design, characterization, application

The aim of the study is to synthesize new non-toxic water-soluble polymers with carbochain and heterochain structures and to obtain thermally reversible gels on the basis of these polymers. The carbochain polymers to be studied will mainly be poly(N-viylamides) (PVA) as these materials seem to be advantageous for cell and enzyme compounds as well as for bioanalytical and diagnostic systems.

The work during the twenty-four months (January 1996 - December 1997) proceeded according to the working plan. The major results are:

1. The monomers (N-vinylamides) and macromers (acrylated polytetrahydrofurane, acrylated polymethylvinylether) necessary for further work were synthesized.

2. Reactive polymers and oligomers for construction of physically and chemically crosslinked hydrogels were prepared.

3. On the basis of different monomers and macromonomers, the synthesis of new polymers of block- and graft-like structures with potentially hydrogel-forming and surfactant properties were started.

4. Thermal phase separation and complexation of homo- and copolymers of VCL were studied.

5. Physically and chemically formed hydrogels were prepared and some of their diffusion and temperature controlled properties were studied.

6. Flocculation-stabilization behaviour of a number of water-born polymers for inorganic and organic dispersions in water was studied. An effect of temperature dependent TiO2 suspension flocculation with PVCL was discovered.

7. A novel efficient technique for immobilization of enzymes in hydrogels was developed. Effects of enzyme stabilization in the PVCL-based hydrogels were studied.

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