Effect of freeze-thawing conditions for preparation of chitosan-poly (vinyl alcohol) hydrogels and drug release studies
The freezing-thawing is an advantageous method to produce hydrogels without crosslinking agents. In this study chitosan-poly(vinyl alcohol) (CS-PVA) hydrogels were prepared by varying the freezing conditions and composition, which affect the final characteristics of the products. The swelling degree, morphology, porosity, and diflunisal drug loading, as well as the drug release profiles were evaluated. The hydrogel swelling ratio was found to be mainly affected by the CS content, the number of freezing cycles and the temperature. SEM micrographs and porosity data confirm that pore size increases with the chitosan content. However, the use of either lower temperatures or longer freezing times, results in higher porosity and smaller pores. The drug release times of the CS-PVA hydrogels were as long as 30 h, and according to the mathematical fitting, a simple diffusion mechanism dominates the process. Moreover, a mathematical model predicting the hydrogels physical and structural behavior is proposed.