Zwitterionic and charge-balanced (polyampholyte) copolymer hydrogels

Darren Campbell, Brian Tighe

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster


Zwitterionic compounds, or zwitterions, are electrically neutral compounds having an equal number of formal unit charges of opposite sign. In common polyzwitterions the zwitterionic groups are usually located in pendent groups rather than the backbone of the macromolecule. Polyzwitterions contain both the anion and cation in the same monomeric unit, unlike polyampholytes which can contain the anion and cation in different monomeric units. The use of cationic and anionic monomers (or monomers capable of becoming charged) in stoichiometric equivalent proportions produces charge-balanced polyampholyte copolymers. Hydrogel materials produced from zwitterionic monomers have been proposed for use and are used in many biomaterial applications but synthetic charge-balanced polyampholyte are less common. Certain properties of hydrogels which are important for their successful use as biomaterials, these include the equilibrium water content, mechanical, surface energy, oxygen permeability, swelling and the coefficient of friction.

The zwitterionic monomer N,N-dimethyl-N-(2-acryloylethyl)-N-(3-sulfopropyl) ammonium betaine (SPDA) was synthesized with 2-hydroxyethly acrylate (HEMA) as the comonomer to produce a series of polyzwitterion hydrogels. To produce charged-balanced copolymer hydrogels two “cationic” monomers were selected; 2-(diethylamino) ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) and 3-(dimethylamino) propyl methacrylamide (DMAPMA) and an anionic monomer; 2-acrylamido 2,2 methylpropane sulphonic acid (AMPS). Two series’ of charge-balanced copolymers were synthesized from stoichiometric equivalent ratios of DMAEMA or DMAPMA and AMPS with HEMA as a terpolymer. The zwitterionic copolymer and both charge-balanced copolymers produced clear, cohesive hydrogels.

The zwitterionic and charge-balanced copolymers displayed similar EWC’s along with similar mechanical and surface energy properties. The swelling of the zwitterionic copolymer displayed antipolyelectrolyte behavior whereas the charge-balanced copolymers displayed behaviour somewhere between this and a typical polyelectrolyte. This work describes some aspects of the polymerisation and properties of SPDA copolymers and charge-balanced (polyampholyte) copolymers relevant to their potential as biomedical / bioresponsive materials. The biomimetic nature of SPDA together with its compatibility with other monomers makes it a useful and complimentary addition to the building blocks of biomaterials.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Apr 2008
EventSmartMat 2008 and IWOFM-2 Conference - Chiang Mai, Thailand
Duration: 1 Apr 2008 → …


ConferenceSmartMat 2008 and IWOFM-2 Conference
CityChiang Mai
Period1/04/08 → …


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