Impact of solvent quality on the network strength and structure of alginate gels
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2016
The influence of the mixture of water and alcohols on the solubility and properties of alginate and its calcium-induced gels is of interest for the food, wound care and pharmaceutical industries. The solvent quality of water with increasing amounts of ethanol (0-20%) on alginate was studied using intrinsic viscosity. The effect of ethanol addition on the rheological and mechanical properties of calcium alginate gels was determined. Small-angle X-ray scattering and transmission electron microscopy were used to study the network structure. It is shown that the addition of ethanol up to 15% (wt) increases the extension of the alginate chain, which correlates with increased moduli and stress being required to fracture the gels. The extension of the polymer chain is reduced at 20% (wt) ethanol, which is followed by reduced moduli and stress at breakage of the gels. The network structure of gels at high ethanol concentrations (24%) is characterized by thick and poorly connected network strands.