464712 Polyelectrolyte Complex Hydrogels: Self-Assembly, Structure and Rheology
We will present insights on the equilibrium structure of such PEC hydrogel assemblies comprising oppositely charged block copolyelectrolytes. Initial motivation will be provided by a brief discussion of structure and rheology of block copolypeptide hydrogels. It will be followed by detailed investigations of structure-property relationships of hydrogels comprising model block copolyelectrolytes with oppositely charged functionalized polyallyl glycidyl ethers as ionic and polyethylene glycol as neutral blocks. Large-scale ordering of the nanoscale PEC domains is observed at high polymer loadings, characterized by a disorder-order transition followed by morphological transitions with increasing polymer loading. Complementary X-ray and neutron scattering investigations providing a comprehensive structural description of these materials and strongly supporting our hypothesis on the charged block playing a structure-defining role and the neutral block undertaking a structure-directing role will be presented. In addition, the effect of key parameters such as polymer block lengths and salt concentration on the equilibrium materials properties, elucidated via detailed structure characterization and rheology studies, will also be discussed.