Polyacrylamide (PAAm) hydrogels immersed in water and aqueous NaCl solutions were investigated for their structure and dynamics using static and quasi-elastic laser light scattering (QELS) techniques. Ensemble-averaged electric field correlation function $f (q, t)$ obtained from the non-ergodic analysis of intensity-autocorrelation function for PAAm gel immersed in water and in 5 M NaCl showed an exponential decay to a plateau with an initial decay followed by saturation at long times. The value of the plateau was found to depend on NaCl concentration and was higher than that of water. Collective diffusion coefficient, 𝐷, of the polymer network of the hydrogel immersed in water and in different concentrations of NaCl was determined by analysing $f (q, t)$. The measured diffusion coefficient showed linear decrease with increase in concentration of NaCl. The characteristic network parameters were obtained by analyzing $f (q, t)$ with harmonically bound Brownian particle model and from static light scattering studies.
Volume 96, 2022
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