Optical anisotropy of calcium-induced alginate gels

Research paper by Yasuyuki Maki, Masako Wakamatsu, Kei Ito, Kazuya Furusawa, Takao Yamamoto, Toshiaki Dobashi

Indexed on: 14 May '09Published on: 14 May '09Published in: Journal of Biorheology


Alginate gels formed by diffusion of calcium ions into solutions of sodium alginate were found to exhibit optical anisotropy depending on preparation conditions. When observed under crossed nicols, the anisotropic alginate gels showed a birefringence pattern which is characteristic of radial orientation of polymer chains. Calcium alginate gels were prepared from different concentrations of sodium alginate and calcium ion, and the conditions for formation of the anisotropic gels were determined. The gel-formation process was measured by monitoring the development of the birefringent layer and was compared with the model in which the diffusion of calcium ions dominates gel formation.