Swelling Kinetics and Rheological Behavior of Chitosan-PVA / Montmorillonite Hybrid Polymers
This study involved preparation of hybrid polymer systems based on chitosan-poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) blends and modified Montmorillonite. These structures were characterized through microscopy and infrared spectroscopy; swelling measurements were performed to explore polymer absorbency. The behavior of polymer systems was studied through steady and oscillatory shear rheology. Results showed that more stable blend membranes were formed due to the strong interaction between chitosan and PVA. The membranes exhibited appreciable water uptake and were sensitive to saline solution with a slight shrinking.
Shear viscosity was described by Cross model to characterize non-Newtonian behavior of all polymer solutions, the shear thinning increases with PVA content, while viscosity increases with chitosan extent. In oscillatory experiments, it was observed that all measured viscoelastic properties were influenced by blends composition and clay content. For all samples, results show a typical behavior of an entangled system in the case of semi-dilute macromolecular viscoelastic fluids. The dynamic moduli exhibited higher values for blends, compared with values of neat polymers, which are an indication of a good stability and a tendency of gel formation. Therefore, the prepared chitosan-PVA systems, which exhibited high swelling degrees and suitable viscoelastic properties, have promising applications in tissue engineering and membrane processes.