Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Gang Cheng

Second Reader

Edward Evans


The effects of bead composition and dryness on the release rate of small molecules, like a drug or dye, from polyelectrolyte complex (PEC) beads were studied. Release studies were performed on dried and not dried beads prepared using different PEC to drug ratios. The beads were dried for two hours, which allowed them to reach a constant weight. The beads were loaded with a dye, so their release could be detected through the visible light regime. A plate reader was used to determine the absorbance of a sample, and then the amount of dye released was determined. The data presented in this report generally displayed the opposite effect of bead dryness on the release profile than initially thought. A sample of dried and not dried beads released 22% and 13%, respectively, of its rhodamine B loading within the first 15 minutes. The dried and not dried beads also led to dye being released up to 87% and 34%, respectively, after 6 days. Due to the collapsed pores of the PEC beads, the dried beads should have had a slower release profile. It is recommended that these studies be reproduced to determine if these results were accurate.