The Info List - Gel

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A gel is a solid jelly-like material that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute cross-linked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state.[1] By weight, gels are mostly liquid, yet they behave like solids due to a three-dimensional cross-linked network within the liquid. It is the crosslinking within the fluid that gives a gel its structure (hardness) and contributes to the adhesive stick (tack). In this way gels are a dispersion of molecules of a liquid within a solid in which liquid particles are dispersed in the solid medium . The word gel was coined by 19th-century Scottish chemist Thomas Graham by clipping from gelatine.[2]

IUPAC definition

Gel: Nonfluid colloidal network or polymer network that is expanded throughout its whole volume by a fluid [3][4]. Note 1: A gel has a finite, usually rather small, yield stress. Note 2: A gel can contain: (i) a covalent polymer network, e.g., a network formed by crosslinking polymer chains or by nonlinear polymerization; (ii) a polymer network formed through the physical aggregation of polymer chains, caused by hydrogen bonds, crystallization, helix formation, complexation, etc., that results in regions of local order acting as the network junction points. The resulting swollen network may be termed a “thermoreversible gel” if the regions of local order are thermally reversible; (iii) a polymer network formed through glassy junction points, e.g., one based on block copolymers. If the junction points are thermally reversible glassy domains, the resulting swollen network may also be termed a thermoreversible gel; (iv) lamellar structures including mesophases [5] defines lamellar crystal and mesophase , e.g., soap gels, phospholipids, and clays; (v) particulate disordered structures, e.g., a flocculent precipitate usually consisting of particles with large geometrical anisotropy, such as in V2O5 gels and globular or fibrillar protein gels. Note 3: Corrected from [6], where the definition is via the property identified in Note 1 (above) rather than of the structural characteristics that describe a gel.


1 Composition

1.1 Polyionic polymers

2 Types

2.1 Hydrogels 2.2 Organogels 2.3 Xerogels 2.4 Nanocomposite hydrogels

3 Properties 4 Animal-produced gels 5 Applications 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Composition[edit] Gels consist of a solid three-dimensional network that spans the volume of a liquid medium and ensnares it through surface tension effects. This internal network structure may result from physical bonds (physical gels) or chemical bonds (chemical gels), as well as crystallites or other junctions that remain intact within the extending fluid. Virtually any fluid can be used as an extender including water (hydrogels), oil, and air (aerogel). Both by weight and volume, gels are mostly fluid in composition and thus exhibit densities similar to those of their constituent liquids. Edible jelly is a common example of a hydrogel and has approximately the density of water. Polyionic polymers[edit] Polyionic polymers are polymers with an ionic functional group. The ionic charges prevent the formation of tightly coiled polymer chains. This allows them to contribute more to viscosity in their stretched state, because the stretched-out polymer takes up more space. This is also the reason gel hardens. See polyelectrolyte for more information. Types[edit] Hydrogels[edit]

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See also: Superabsorbent polymer, Self-healing hydrogels, and Hydrogel agriculture

of a superabsorbent polymer

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A micropump based on a hydrogel bar (4×0.3×0.05 mm size) actuated by applied voltage. This pump can be continuously operated with a 1.5 V battery for at least 6 months.[7]

A bandaid with a hydrogel pad, used for blisters and burns. The central gel is clear, the adhesive waterproof plastic film is clear, the backing is white and blue

A short-peptide-based hydrogel matrix, capable of holding about one hundred times its own weight in water. Developed as a medical dressing. The thickness of the fibers was on the order of tens of nm, mimicking the fibrous microenvironment found in the extracellular matrix. Field emission scanning electron microscopy image

Photo of the same short-peptide-based hydrogel, held in forceps to demonstrate its stiffness and transparency.

A hydrogel is a network of polymer chains that are hydrophilic, sometimes found as a colloidal gel in which water is the dispersion medium. Hydrogels
are highly absorbent (they can contain over 90% water) natural or synthetic polymeric networks. Hydrogels
also possess a degree of flexibility very similar to natural tissue, due to their significant water content. The first appearance of the term 'hydrogel' in the literature was in 1894.[8] Common uses for hydrogels include:

Scaffolds in tissue engineering. When used as scaffolds, hydrogels may contain human cells to repair tissue. They mimic 3D microenvironment of cells.[9] Hydrogel-coated wells have been used for cell culture[10] Environmentally sensitive hydrogels (also known as 'Smart Gels' or 'Intelligent Gels'). These hydrogels have the ability to sense changes of pH, temperature, or the concentration of metabolite and release their load as result of such a change.[11] Sustained-release drug delivery systems Providing absorption, desloughing and debriding of necrotic and fibrotic tissue Hydrogels
that are responsive to specific molecules, such as glucose or antigens, can be used as biosensors, as well as in DDS.[12] Disposable diapers where they absorb urine, or in sanitary napkins[13] Contact lenses (silicone hydrogels, polyacrylamides, polymacon) EEG and ECG medical electrodes using hydrogels composed of cross-linked polymers (polyethylene oxide, polyAMPS and polyvinylpyrrolidone) Water gel explosives Rectal drug delivery and diagnosis Encapsulation of quantum dots Breast implants Glue Granules for holding soil moisture in arid areas Dressings for healing of burn or other hard-to-heal wounds. Wound
gels are excellent for helping to create or maintain a moist environment. Reservoirs in topical drug delivery; particularly ionic drugs, delivered by iontophoresis (see ion exchange resin). Materials mimicking animal mucosal tissues to be used for testing mucoadhesive properties of drug delivery systems[14][15]

Common ingredients include polyvinyl alcohol, sodium polyacrylate, acrylate polymers and copolymers with an abundance of hydrophilic groups. Natural hydrogel materials are being investigated for tissue engineering; these materials include agarose, methylcellulose, hyaluronan, Elastin like polypeptides
Elastin like polypeptides
and other naturally derived polymers. Hydrogels
show promise for use in agriculture, as they can release agrochemicals including pesticides and phosphate fertiliser slowly, increasing efficacy and reducing runoff, and at the same time improve the water retention of drier soils such as sandy loams.[16] Organogels[edit] See also: Organogels An organogel is a non-crystalline, non-glassy thermoreversible (thermoplastic) solid material composed of a liquid organic phase entrapped in a three-dimensionally cross-linked network. The liquid can be, for example, an organic solvent, mineral oil, or vegetable oil. The solubility and particle dimensions of the structurant are important characteristics for the elastic properties and firmness of the organogel. Often, these systems are based on self-assembly of the structurant molecules.[17][18] (An example of formation of an undesired thermoreversible network is the occurrence of wax crystallization in petroleum.[19]) Organogels
have potential for use in a number of applications, such as in pharmaceuticals,[20] cosmetics, art conservation,[21] and food.[22] Xerogels[edit] A xerogel /ˈzɪəroʊˌdʒɛl/ is a solid formed from a gel by drying with unhindered shrinkage. Xerogels usually retain high porosity (15–50%) and enormous surface area (150–900 m2/g), along with very small pore size (1–10 nm). When solvent removal occurs under supercritical conditions, the network does not shrink and a highly porous, low-density material known as an aerogel is produced. Heat treatment of a xerogel at elevated temperature produces viscous sintering (shrinkage of the xerogel due to a small amount of viscous flow) and effectively transforms the porous gel into a dense glass. Nanocomposite hydrogels[edit] Nanocomposite hydrogels[23][24] are also known as hybrid hydrogels, can be defined as highly hydrated polymeric networks, either physically or covalently crosslinked with each other and/or with nanoparticles or nanostructures. Nanocomposite hydrogels can mimic native tissue properties, structure and microenvironment due to their hydrated and interconnected porous structure. A wide range of nanoparticles, such as carbon-based, polymeric, ceramic, and metallic nanomaterials can be incorporated within the hydrogel structure to obtain nanocomposites with tailored functionality. Nanocomposite hydrogels can be engineered to possess superior physical, chemical, electrical, and biological properties.[23] Properties[edit] Many gels display thixotropy – they become fluid when agitated, but resolidify when resting. In general, gels are apparently solid, jelly-like materials. It is a type of non-Newtonian fluid. By replacing the liquid with gas it is possible to prepare aerogels, materials with exceptional properties including very low density, high specific surface areas, and excellent thermal insulation properties. Animal-produced gels[edit] Some species secrete gels that are effective in parasite control. For example, the long-finned pilot whale secretes an enzymatic gel that rests on the outer surface of this animal and helps prevent other organisms from establishing colonies on the surface of these whales' bodies.[25] Hydrogels
existing naturally in the body include mucus, the vitreous humor of the eye, cartilage, tendons and blood clots. Their viscoelastic nature results in the soft tissue component of the body, disparate from the mineral-based hard tissue of the skeletal system. Researchers are actively developing synthetically derived tissue replacement technologies derived from hydrogels, for both temporary implants (degradable) and permanent implants (non-degradable). A review article on the subject discusses the use of hydrogels for nucleus pulposus replacement, cartilage replacement, and synthetic tissue models.[26] Applications[edit] Many substances can form gels when a suitable thickener or gelling agent is added to their formula. This approach is common in manufacture of wide range of products, from foods to paints and adhesives. In fiber optics communications, a soft gel resembling "hair gel" in viscosity is used to fill the plastic tubes containing the fibers. The main purpose of the gel is to prevent water intrusion if the buffer tube is breached, but the gel also buffers the fibers against mechanical damage when the tube is bent around corners during installation, or flexed. Additionally, the gel acts as a processing aid when the cable is being constructed, keeping the fibers central whilst the tube material is extruded around it. See also[edit]

2-Acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid Agarose
gel electrophoresis Food rheology Gel
electrophoresis Gel
filtration chromatography Gel
permeation chromatography Hydrocolloid Ouchterlony double immunodiffusion Paste (rheology) Polyacrylamide
gel electrophoresis Radial immunodiffusion Silicone
gel Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis Void (composites)


^ Ferry, John D. (1980) Viscoelastic Properties of Polymers. New York: Wiley, ISBN 0471048941. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary: gel". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-12-09.  ^ R. G. Jones, J. Kahovec, R. Stepto, E. S. Wilks, M. Hess, T. Kitayama, W. V. Metanomski (2008). IUPAC. Compendium of Polymer Terminology and Nomenclature, IUPAC Recommendations 2008 (the “Purple Book”) (PDF). RSC Publishing, Cambridge, UK. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ "Terminology of polymers and polymerization processes in dispersed systems (IUPAC Recommendations 2011)" (PDF). Pure and Applied Chemistry. 83 (12): 2229–2259. 2011. doi:10.1351/PAC-REC-10-06-03.  ^ K. S. W. Sing, D. H. Everett, R. A. W. Haul, L. Moscou, R. A. Pierotti, J. Rouquérol, T. Siemieniewska. (1985). "Reporting physisorption data for gas/solid systems with special reference to the determination of surface area and porosity". Pure Appl. Chem. 57: 603. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. (1997). IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the “Gold Book”) (XML on-line corrected version: ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.  ^ Kwon, Gu Han; Jeong, Gi Seok; Park, Joong Yull; Moon, Jin Hee; Lee, Sang-Hoon (2011). "A low-energy-consumption electroactive valveless hydrogel micropump for long-term biomedical applications". Lab on a Chip. 11 (17): 2910–5. doi:10.1039/C1LC20288J. PMID 21761057.  ^ "Der Hydrogel
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External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gels.

Look up gel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Xerogel (definition)

v t e

Routes of administration, dosage forms


Digestive tract (enteral)


Pill Tablet Capsule Pastille Time release technology Osmotic delivery system (OROS)


Decoction Elixir Electuary Emulsion Extended-release syrup Effervescent
powder or tablet Herbal tea Hydrogel Molecular encapsulation Powder Softgel Solution Suspension Syrup Syrup
Concentrate for dilution and/or addition of carbonated water Tincture

Buccal (sublabial), sublingual


Orally disintegrating tablet
Orally disintegrating tablet
(ODT) Film Lollipop Sublingual drops Lozenges Effervescent
buccal tablet Chewing gum


Mouthwash Toothpaste Ointment Oral spray

Respiratory tract


device Dry-powder inhaler
Dry-powder inhaler

0 0


Anaesthetic vaporizer Vaporizer Nebulizer Metered-dose inhaler
Metered-dose inhaler


Oxygen mask
Oxygen mask
and Nasal cannula Oxygen concentrator Anaesthetic machine Relative analgesia machine

Ophthalmic, otologic, nasal

Nasal spray Ear
drops Eye drops Ointment Hydrogel Nanosphere suspension Insufflation Mucoadhesive microdisc (microsphere tablet)


Ointment Pessary
(vaginal suppository) Vaginal ring Vaginal douche Intrauterine device
Intrauterine device
(IUD) Extra-amniotic infusion Intravesical infusion

Rectal (enteral)

Ointment Suppository Enema

Solution Hydrogel

Murphy drip Nutrient enema


Ointment Topical
cream Topical
gel Liniment Paste Film DMSO drug solution Electrophoretic
dermal delivery system Hydrogel Liposomes Transfersome vesicles Cream Lotion Lip balm Medicated shampoo Dermal patch Transdermal
patch Contact (rubbed into break in the skin) Transdermal
spray Jet injector

Injection, infusion (into tissue/blood)


Intradermal Subcutaneous Transdermal


Intracavernous Intravitreal Intra-articular injection Transscleral

Central nervous system

Intracerebral Intrathecal Epidural

Circulatory, musculoskeletal

Intravenous Intracardiac Intramuscular Intraosseous Intraperitoneal Nanocell injection Patient-Controlled Analgesia
Patient-Controlled Analgesia
pump PIC line

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