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Dynamic arrest in polymer gels

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A polymer dissolved in a solvent forms a gel by the formation of cross-links. Cross-linking and gelation can be controlled by variation of parameters such as temperature, pH, salt or surfactant concentration. In physical gels, the cross-links are reversible and such gels play important roles in foods, cosmetics, energy materials and in pharmaceutical products and applications. Interestingly, even though the dynamic arrest behaviour responsible for physical gelation shows strong similarities, also for systems of widely varying chemical nature, we do not have a satisfactory understanding of the mechanisms involved. I will discuss recent experimental results on dynamic arrest in physical polymer gels focusing on the different roles played by control parameters such as temperature, polymer and surfactant concentration.

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