Authors Hagmann, K. ; Bunk, C. ; Böhme, F. ; von Klitzing, R.
Title Amphiphilic polymer conetwork gel films based on tetra-poly(ethylene glycol) and tetra-poly(e-caprolactone)
Date 23.06.2022
Number 60325
Abstract The preparation and investigation of gel films from a model amphiphilic polymer conetwork (ACN) grant a deeper control and understanding of the structure–property relationship in the bulk phase and at the interface of materials with promising applications. In order to allow the simultaneous transport of hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances, polymeric networks with finely distributed hydrophilic and hydrophobic components are very suitable. When designing new soft materials such as coatings, in addition to the structure in the bulk phase, the structure at the interface plays a critical role. In this study, two alternating tetra-arm star polymers poly(e-caprolactone) (tetra-PCL-Ox) and amino-terminated poly(ethylene glycol) (tetra-PEG-NH2) form an amphiphilic polymer conetwork. The correlation between different synthesis strategies for gel films of this ACN model system and their resulting properties will be described. Through various spin coating techniques, control over film thickness and roughness is achievable and highlights differences to macroscopic gel samples. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements reveal the effect of solvents of different polarities on the swelling ability and surface structure. This correlates with AFM investigations of the mechanical properties on ACN gel films, demonstrating a strong effect on the resulting elastic modulus E, depending on the presence or absence of a good solvent during synthesis. Furthermore, a higher E modulus is obtained in the presence of the selective solvent water, compared to the non-selective solvent toluene. This observation is explained through selective swelling of the tetra-arm star polymers displaying a different hydrophobicity.
Publisher Polymers
Citation Polymers 14 (2022) 2555

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