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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5147482, 9 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5147482
Research Article

UV Dose Governs UV-Polymerized Polyacrylamide Hydrogel Modulus

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, Saint Louis University, 3507 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Silviya P. Zustiak

Received 19 April 2017; Accepted 24 August 2017; Published 10 October 2017

Academic Editor: Shida Miao

Copyright © 2017 Saahil Sheth 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.

Abstract

Polyacrylamide (PAA) hydrogels have become a widely used tool whose easily tunable mechanical properties, biocompatibility, thermostability, and chemical inertness make them invaluable in many biological applications, such as cell mechanosensitivity studies. Currently, preparation of PAA gels involves mixtures of acrylamide, bisacrylamide, a source of free radicals, and a chemical stabilizer. This method, while generally well accepted, has its drawbacks: long polymerization times, unstable and toxic reagents, and tedious preparation. Alternatively, PAA gels could be made by free radical polymerization (FRP) using ultraviolet (UV) photopolymerization, a method which is quicker, less tedious, and less toxic. Here, we describe a simple strategy based on total UV energy for determining the optimal UV crosslinking conditions that lead to optimal hydrogel modulus.