Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemical Engineering

Research Sponsor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Dr. Lingyun Liu

Second Reader

Dr. Gang Cheng


Smart drug delivery systems have garnered increased interest in the biomedical community during recent years. Investigation into thermal, pH, and light responsive delivery systems allows for targeted drug release systems to be developed. For this project, thermal responsive release behavior was investigated for the purpose of tuning release systems to achieve 60% release in a specified time by varying the content of thermal responsive polymer. To investigate this, the release profile of a model small hydrophilic drug (rhodamine B) from polymeric alginate beads that have been modified by the addition of thermal responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm). It was determined that when diffused into 37 °C water, the beads with a higher ratio of PNIPAAm to alginate in 3 wt. % polymer beads exhibit diffusion behavior that can be modeled by Fick’s 2nd Law of Diffusion. It was also determined that the addition of PNIPAAm accelerates the diffusion of the drug, because the PNIPAAm network collapses to create larger pore size when the beads reach above the LCST of 37 °C , expelling internal water and the hydrophilic rhodamine B.