Novel hydrogel copolymers and semi-interpenetraing polymer networks

  • Fiona J. Lydon

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Interpenetrating polymer networks (lPN's), have been defined as a combination of
two polymers each in network form, at least one of which has been synthesised and / or crosslinked in the presence of the other. A semi-lPN, is formed when only one of the polymers in the system is crosslinked, the other being linear. lPN's have potential advantages over homogeneous materials presently used in biomedical applications, in that their composite nature gives them a useful combination of properties. Such materials have potential uses in the biomedical field, specifically for use in hard tissue replacements, rigid gas permeable contact lenses and dental materials. Work on simply two or three component systems in both low water containing lPN's supplemented by the study of hydrogels (water swollen hydrophilic polymers) can provide information useful in the future development of more complex systems. A range of copolymers have been synthesised using a variety of methacrylates and acrylates. Hydrogels were obtained by the addition of N-vinyl pyrrolidone to these copolymers. A selection of interpenetrants were incorporated into the samples and their effect on the copolymer properties was investigated. By studying glass transition temperatures, mechanical, surface, water binding and oxygen permeability properties samples were assessed for their suitability for use as biomaterials.
In addition copolymers containing tris-(trimethylsiloxy)-y-methacryloxypropyl silane, commonly abbreviated to 'TRlS', have been investigated. This material has been shown to enhance oxygen permeability, a desirable property when considering the design of contact lenses. However, 'TRIS' has a low polar component of surface free energy and hence low wettability. Copolymerisation with a range of methacrylates has shown that significant increases in surface wettability can be obtained without a detrimental effect on oxygen permeability. To further enhance to surface wettability 4-methacryloxyethyl trimellitic anhydride was incorporated into a range of promising samples. This study has shown that by careful choice of monomers it is possible to synthesise polymers that possess a range of properties desirable in biomedical applications.
Date of AwardSept 1994
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Tighe (Supervisor)


  • hydrogel
  • interpenetraing polymer networks
  • surface properties
  • oxygen permeability
  • mechanical properties

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