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Smart Starch–Poly(N‑isopropylacrylamide) Hybrid Microgels: Synthesis, Structure, and Swelling Behavior

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journal contribution
posted on 22.08.2018, 00:00 by Daiani C. Leite, Sergej Kakorin, Yvonne Hertle, Thomas Hellweg, Nádya P. da Silveira
In this study, we present hybrid microgels made of starch nanoparticles (SNPs) and poly­(N-isopropylacrylamide) [p­(NIPAM)]. SNPs were formed through nanoprecipitation. Hybrid microgels were prepared by surfactant-free precipitation polymerization (SFPP) or in the presence of surfactant precipitation polymerization (PP) at different NIPAM/SNP ratios. Dynamic light scattering results of hybrid microgels synthesized by SFPP revealed changes in volume phase transition temperature according to SNP amount, where the increase in the hydrophilic content caused small shifts in the lower critical solution temperature (LCST), reaching nearly 35 °C. Colloidal stability was improved with the SNP content, leading to increased stability because of the hydroxyl groups. Small-angle X-ray scattering indicates a core–shell structure above the LCST, where SNPs chains cover a p­(NIPAM) core. Swelling curves experimentally obtained were analyzed using the Flory–Rehner model, where the interaction parameter (χ) has been modeled either by a series expansion of the swelling ratio or by a Hill-like equation for a cooperative thermotropic transition.