Date of Thesis

Spring 2021


Hydrogels exhibit biocompatibility in a range of biomedical applications, including drug delivery. This thesis aims to develop complementary techniques to measure the diffusion and degradation behaviors within an injectable, hydrolytically degradable hydrogel, formed via the covalent crosslinking of ethoxylated trimethylolpropane tri-3- mercaptopropionate (ETTMP) and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA), to determine its suitability as a drug delivery matrix. The characterization of water as either free, within the network openings of the hydrogel, or bound, tightly associated with the polymer chains, was determined using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The mobility of each type of water within the hydrogels was determined via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) diffusion experiments. The fractions and mobilities of the water were found to change with initial polymer concentration within the hydrogel. Effects of the water and swelling on the hydrolytic degradation of the hydrogel network, as well as diffusion and release of model drugs from the hydrogels, were determined, and it was shown that deviations from equilibrium water content (EWC) caused initial swelling or deswelling of the gels.


Hydrogels, Drug Delivery, Diffusion, NMR, Degradation, Swelling

Access Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Erin Jablonski

Second Advisor

Dr. Brandon Vogel