Nitro-group functionalization of dopamine and its contribution to the viscoelastic properties of catechol-containing nanocomposite hydrogels

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Linear polyacrylamide (PAAm) is modified with dopamine or nitrodopamine (PAAm-D and PAAm-ND, respectively) to evaluate the effect of nitro-group modification on the interfacial binding properties of polymer-bound catechol. Nanocomposite hydrogels are prepared by mixing PAAm-based polymers with Laponite and the viscoelastic properties of these materials are determined using oscillatory rheometry. The incorporation of a small amount of catechol (≈0.1 wt% in swollen hydrogel) drastically increases the shear moduli by 1–2 orders of magnitude over those of the catechol-free control. Additionally, PAAm-ND exhibits higher shear moduli values than PAAm-D across the whole pH range tested (pH 3.0–9.0). Based on the calculated effective crosslinking density, effective functionality, and molecular weight between crosslinks, nitro-group functionalization of dopamine results in a polymer network with increased crosslinking density and crosslinking points with higher functionality. Nitro-functionalization enhances the interfacial binding property of dopamine and increases its resistant to oxidation, which results in nanocomposite hydrogels with enhanced stiffness and a viscous dissipation property.

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© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/macp.201500010

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Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics