Synthetic hydrogel polymers were prepared by free radical photopolymerization in aqueous solution of the sodium salt of 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid (Na-AMPS). Poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) and 4,4'-azo-bis(4-cyanopentanoic acid) were used as the crosslinker and UV-photoinitiator, respectively. The effects of varying the Na-AMPS monomer concentration within the range of 30-50% w/v and the crosslinker concentration within the range of 0.1-1.0% mol (relative to monomer) were studied in terms of their influence on water absorption properties. The hydrogel sheets exhibited extremely high swelling capacities in aqueous media which were dependent on monomer concentration, crosslink density, and the ionic strength and composition of the immersion medium. The effects of varying the number-average molecular weight of the PEGDA crosslinker from = 250 to 700 were also investigated. Interestingly, it was found that increasing the molecular weight and therefore the crosslink length at constant crosslink density decreased both the rate of water absorption and the equilibrium water content. Cytotoxicity testing by the direct contact method with mouse fibroblast L929 cells indicated that the synthesized hydrogels were nontoxic. On the basis of these results, it is considered that photopolymerized Na-AMPS hydrogels crosslinked with PEGDA show considerable potential for biomedical use as dressings for partial thickness burns. This paper describes some structural effects which are relevant to their design as biomaterials for this particular application.
- burn dressings
- water absorption
- poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate
- 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid sodium salt