Rheological properties of aqueous solutions and hydrogels fonned by an amphiphiIic star block copolymer poly(acrylic acid)-blockpolystyrene (PAAS4-b-PS6)4. were investigated as a function of the polymer concentration (Cp), temperature, and added saIt concentration. The water-soluble polymer synthesised by atom transfer radical. polymerization (ATRP) was found to fonn hydrogels at room temperature at polymer concentrations. Cp, over 22 gIL due to the interpolymer drophobic association of the PS blocks. Increasing Cp leads to stronger elastic networks at room temperature that show a gel-to-solution transition with increasing temperature. Increase of ionic strength decreases the moduli compared with the pure hydrogel but did not affect the gel-sol transition temperature significantly. Small-angle X-ray experiments showed two distinct scattering correlation peaks for samples above the gelling Cp, which indicates the aggregates fonmed due to hydrophobic association. Upon heating the intensity of the scattering correlation peaks was found to decrease indicating the loss of the network structure due to thermal motion.
- Star polymer