Synthesis and characterization of pH-sensitive poly(organophosphazene) hydrogels

Harry R. Allcock, Archel M.A. Ambrosio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


A new class of pH-sensitive hydrogels has been designed and synthesized. These are novel polyphosphazenes that bear various ratios of sodium oxybenzoate and methoxyethoxyethoxy side groups. These water-soluble macromolecules were cross-linked by 60Co gamma irradiation and the products were allowed to absorb water to form hydrogels. The hydrogels had higher equilibrium degrees of swelling in basic than in acidic buffer solutions, and polymers with a higher loading of the ionic side group showed higher swellability than those with a lower loading of this side group. The effects of ionic strength, cation charge and radiation dose on the degree of swelling were also studied. A study of the diffusion of the dye Biebrich Scarlet from the hydrogels showed complete release of the dye in 4-12 h in pH 7.4 buffer solution but significantly lower release at pH 2 even after 48 h. The release rate also varied as the side-group ratios were changed. The prehydrogel polymers were synthesized via the macromolecular substitution reactions of poly(dichlorophosphazene) with sodium methoxyethoxy-ethoxide and the sodium salt of propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, followed by ester hydrolysis to yield the sodium carboxylate. The hydrogels are of interest for possible use as pH-sensitive membranes and for a number of potential biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2295-2302
Number of pages8
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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