Development of temperature-responsive polymeric gels with physical crosslinking due to intermolecular π–π interactions

Rishabh A. Shah, Tyler Runge, Thomas W. Ostertag, Shuo Tang, Thomas D. Dziubla, J. Zach Hilt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) was polymerized with comonomers containing a biphenyl moiety to create a unique thermoresponsive physically crosslinked system due to the presence of π–π interactions between the biphenyl moieties. The biphenyl monomers used were 2-phenylphenol monoacrylate (2PPMA) and 4-phenylphenol monoacrylate (4PPMA). These monomers were utilized to synthesize a set of polymers with biphenyl monomer (2PPMA/4PPMA) content from 2.5 to 7.5 mol% and with initiator concentrations of 0.1 and 1.0 wt%. The resulting polymers were characterized using various techniques, such as gel permeation chromatography (GPC), swelling studies and mechanical testing. A decrease in the average molecular weight of the polymers due to the increase in the concentration of initiator was confirmed from GPC results. Swelling studies confirmed the expected temperature-dependent swelling properties and explored the impact of the biphenyl comonomers. These studies indicated that with an increase in biphenyl comonomer content, the physical crosslinking increases which leads to a decrease in the swelling ratio. The results from the mechanical tests also indicate the effect of the concentration of biphenyl comonomers. These physically crosslinked polymeric systems with their unique properties have potential applications spanning environmental remediation/sensing, biomedicine, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
JournalPolymer International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project described was supported by a research grant from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) (project no. P42ES007380).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society of Industrial Chemistry.


  • biphenyl
  • physical crosslinking
  • swelling
  • thermoresponsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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