Fast synthesis of temperature-sensitive PNIPAAm hydrogels by microwave irradiation

Zhenxia Zhao, Zhong Li, Qibin Xia, Hongxia Xi, Yuesheng Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


A novel method, microwave irradiation synthesis, is proposed for the preparation of thermo-sensitive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) hydrogels. The PNIPAAm hydrogels were separately synthesized by using microwave irradiation method and water-bath heating method. Chemical groups, lower critical solution temperature (LCST) and surface morphology of these PNIPAAm hydrogels were characterized by FT-IR, DSC and SEM. Swelling ratios of the gels were measured gravimetrically in the temperature range from 10.0 to 60.0 °C. Results showed that (1) the use of microwave irradiation can greatly shorten the reaction time required for PNIPAAm hydrogel synthesis from several hours to several minutes in comparison with water-bath heating method, and obviously improve the yields of the PNIPAAm gels, which were up to 99% after a short reaction time; (2) SEM micrographs and textural measurement revealed that the gels synthesized using microwave irradiation had more porous structure, and their average pore sizes and specific surface areas were larger than those of the gels synthesized using water-bath heating method; and (3) the PNIPAAm hydrogels synthesized using microwave irradiation had much higher swelling ratios at 10.0 °C below the LCST, and had lower swelling ratio at 60.0 °C above the LCST compared to the hydrogels synthesized by water-bath method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1224
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Polymer Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Microwave irradiation
  • PNIPAAm hydrogels
  • Porous structure
  • Swelling ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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