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Polymer Chemistry Innovations Announces Research Program To Develop A Novel Thermoplastic Hydrogel


Tucson, Arizona – Polymer Chemistry Innovations (PCI), a leading manufacturer of specialty and custom polymers, is pleased to announce a research program to develop a novel thermoplastic hydrogel (TPH).

Hydrogels swell and absorb water but do not dissolve. Existing ionically cross-linked hydrogels have the ability to be reformed and reshaped but are not locked into a specific form whereas covalently cross-linked hydrogels cannot be further processed once formed.

PCI has developed a proprietary position in the manufacture of poly-2-ethyloxazoline (AQUAZOL®) and is leveraging this technology to develop a thermoplastic hydrophilic polymer that can be extruded or molded into virtually any form at different stages of the product’s life. Block and random copolymers of 2-ethyl and 2-phenyloxazoline are being investigated as the basis of the new hydrogel.

The amphiphilic copolymers have unique properties due to microphase separation morphologies. They exhibit two glass transition temperatures (Tg’s), one for the backbone and one for the graft polymer. Below the Tg of the minor phase, the polymer cannot flow and possesses the properties of a cross-linked system. When heated above the Tg of both phases of the copolymer, the material will flow and be able to take the shape of molds and extruder dyes. The new TPH will have improved thermal stability and a significantly lower Tg when dry than existing hydrogels.

The new TPH will have potential applications in adhesives and coatings for the packaging and printing markets; new materials for use in the health care industry; water treatment and spill recovery systems; improved materials for personal care products; various agricultural products; and others.

“ Ever since its creation in 1990, Polymer Chemistry Innovations has been approached by many of its established customers to develop new base materials to address a variety of needs specific to their applications and markets,” says Jim DiBattista, Director of Research for PCI. “We believe this new thermoplastic hydrogel technology will enable us to offer these customers products that will address their existing needs and also provide a vehicle for expanding their own markets through innovations based on the novel TPH.”

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