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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 175264, 12 pages
Research Article

In Situ Swelling Behavior of Chitosan-Polygalacturonic Acid/Hydroxyapatite Nanocomposites in Cell Culture Media

Department of Civil Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA

Received 12 February 2010; Revised 22 March 2010; Accepted 22 March 2010

Academic Editor: Shanfeng Wang

Copyright © 2010 Rohit Khanna et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The molecular and mechanical characteristics of in situ degradation behavior of chitosan-polygalacturonic acid/hydroxyapatite (Chi-PgA-HAP) nanocomposite films is investigated using Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), and modulus mapping techniques for up to 48 days of soaking in cell culture media. The surface molecular structure of media-soaked samples changes over the course of 48 days of soaking, as indicated by significant changes in phosphate vibrations (1200–900  c m 1 ) indicating apatite formation. Chitosan-Polygalacturonic acid polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) govern structural integrity of Chi-PgA-HAP nanocomposites and FTIR spectra indicate that PECs remain intact until 48 days of soaking. In situ AFM experiments on media-soaked samples indicate that soaking results in a change in topography and swelling proceeds differently at the initial soaking periods of about 8 days than for longer soaking. In situ modulus mapping experiments are done on soaked samples by probing 1–3 nm of surface indicating elastic moduli of 4 GPa resulting from proteins adsorbed on Chi-PgA-HAP nanocomposites. The elastic modulus decreases by 2 GPa over a long exposure to cell culture media (48 days). Thus, as water enters the Chi-PgA-HAP sample, surface molecular interactions in Chi-PgA-HAP structure occur that result in swelling, causing small changes in nanoscale mechanical properties.