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Studies on two types of built-in inhomogeneities for polymer gels; Frozen segmental concentration fluctuations and spatial distribution of cross-links

Norisue,Tomohisa*; Kida, Yusuke*; Masui, Naoki*; Tran-Cong-Miyata, Q.*; Maekawa, Yasunari; Yoshida, Masaru; Shibayama, Mitsuhiro*

The shrinking kinetics of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPA) gels has been studied for two types of PNIPA gels prepared by (i) copolymerization of constituent monomer and cross-linker and (ii) $$gamma$$-ray irradiation in the PNIPA solutions in order to investigate the role of cross-linking on shrinking kinetics. The shrinking kinetics of the monomer cross-linked gels is quite similar to that of the polymer cross-linked gels. On the other hand, a significant difference was found when the microscopic structure and the dynamics were investigated by small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and static/dynamic light scattering (SLS/DLS). The degree of built-in inhomogeneities and dynamic fluctuations were evaluated as a function of the cross-linking degree and the gel preparation temperature by intensity decomposition methods for both types of gels. It is concluded that the monomer cross-linked gels have extra built-in inhomogeneities due to the spatial distribution of crosslinks in addition to the frozen concentration fluctuations inherent in polymer gels.

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Category:Polymer Science

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