College of Engineering (COE)

Date of Last Revision

2023-05-03 16:47:43


Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Honors Course


Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2020


Hydrogels are known to be weak and brittle, due to the amounts of water that they hold. Gelatin-based hydrogels specifically are inexpensive and easily accessible, but often have poor physical properties. The goal of my project was to strengthen gelatin-based hydrogels and improve their mechanical properties by forming these hydrogels in different aqueous solutions containing kosmotropic Hofmeister's ions. Prior research has shown that these ions are able to take water away from gelatin-based gels, which forms a tougher hydrogel. The success of this project will be measured by studying the solubility and swelling effects that different Hofmeister ions have on these gelatin-based hydrogels. Solubility studies provided correlation on how temperature, salt solution concentration, and gelatin concentration correlate to gel solubility. This data was further used for the swelling/de-swelling studies. Determination of toughened hydrogels was measured by the ability to deswell when soaked in the Hofmeister ion contention solution. Through various swelling/de-swelling tests, an optimal combination of temperature and salt solution containing a Hofmeister ion can be used to strengthen the hydrogels through swelling/de-swelling.

Research Sponsor

Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Walter Salamant

Second Reader

Roya Gitiafroz

Honors Faculty Advisor

Bi-min Zhang Newby



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