Characterisation and modification of hydrogel polymers
The work described in this thesis can be broadly divided into two sections. The first being the characterisation of hydrogel polymers in both their hydrated and dehydrated states and the second some aspects of the structural modification of polymers. The characterisation of hydrogel polymers in their dehydrated state (xerogels) involves such techniques as elemental analysis, pyrolysis gas liquid chromatography, infra-red spectroscopy, density determination and surface characterisation by contact angle measurements. The characterisation of some commercially available hydrogel materials was undertaken using such techniques and the results obtained were compared to laboratory synthesised systems in an attempt to assess the value of the combination of techniques employed. In the characterisation of hydrated polymers the amoumt and nature of water present is the single most important factor. The most convenient method of characterising this water involves the use of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), coupled with total equilibrium water content measurements. DSC distinguishes between non-freezing and freezing water but in addition provides some information on the continuum of states in the freezing water fraction. Two aspects of the structural modification of hydrogel polymers were studied. The first involved the incorporation of acrylamide and substituted acryamide monomers into a copolymer system and an examination of the effect of this on the amino acid interaction of the polymers. The second was the attempted synthesis of cell surface analogues by the attachment of sugar type molecules to the polymer using a variety of reaction methods.