This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Hydrogel Nanoparticles from Supercritical Technology for Pharmaceutical and Seismological Applications




Hemingway, Melinda G.

Type of Degree



Chemical Engineering


This research focuses on hydrogel nanoparticle formation using miniemulsion polymerization and supercritical carbon dioxide. Hydrogel nanopowder is produced by a novel combination of inverse miniemulsion polymerization and supercritical drying (MPSD) methods. Three drying methods of miniemulsions are examined: (1) a conventional freeze drying technique, and (2) two supercritical drying techniques: (2a) supercritical fluid injection into miniemulsions, and (2b) the polymerized miniemulsion injection into supercritical fluid. Method 2b can produce non-agglomerated hydrogel nanoparticles that are free of solvent or surfactant (Chapter 2). The optimized MPSD method was applied for producing an extended release drug formulation with mucoadhesive properties. Drug nanoparticles of mesalamine, were produced using supercritical antisolvent technology and encapsulation within two hydrogels, polyacrylamide and poly(acrylic acid-co-acrylamide). The encapsulation efficiency and release profile of drug nanoparticles is compared with commercial ground mesalamine particles. The loading efficiency is influenced by morphological compatibility (Chapter 3). The MPSD method was extended for encapsulation of zinc oxide nanoparticles for UV protection in sunscreens (Chapter 4). ZnO was incorporated into the inverse miniemulsion during polymerization. The effect of process parameters are examined on absorbency of ultraviolet light and transparency of visible light. For use of hydrogel nanoparticles in a seismological application, delayed hydration is needed. Supercritical methods extend MPSD so that a hydrophobic coating can be applied on the particle surface (Chapter 5). Multiple analysis methods and coating materials were investigated to elucidate compatibility of coating material to polyacrylamide hydrogel. Coating materials of poly(lactide), poly(sulphone), poly(vinyl acetate), poly(hydroxybutyrate), Geluice 50-13, Span 80, octadecyltrichlorosilane, and perfluorobutane sulfate (PFBS) were tested, out of which Gelucire, perfluorobutane sulfate, and poly(vinyl acetate) materials were able to provide some coating and perfluorobutane sulfate, poly(lactide), poly(vinyl acetate) delayed hydration of hydrogel particles, but not to a sufficient extent. The interactions of the different materials with the hydrogel are examined based on phenomena observed during the production processes and characterization of the particles generated. This work provides understanding into the interactions of polyacrylamide hydrogel particles both internally by encapsulation and externally by coating.