Tuning the degradation profiles of poly(L-lactide)-based materials through miscibility.
ABSTRACT: The effective use of biodegradable polymers relies on the ability to control the onset of and time needed for degradation. Preferably, the material properties should be retained throughout the intended time frame, and the material should degrade in a rapid and controlled manner afterward. The degradation profiles of polyester materials were controlled through their miscibility. Systems composed of PLLA blended with poly[(R,S)-3-hydroxybutyrate] (a-PHB) and polypropylene adipate (PPA) with various molar masses were prepared through extrusion. Three different systems were used: miscible (PLLA/a-PHB5 and PLLA/a-PHB20), partially miscible (PLLA/PPA5/comp and PLLA/PPA20/comp), and immiscible (PLLA/PPA5 and PLLA/PPA20) blends. These blends and their respective homopolymers were hydrolytically degraded in water at 37 °C for up to 1 year. The blends exhibited entirely different degradation profiles but showed no diversity between the total degradation times of the materials. PLLA presented a two-stage degradation profile with a rapid decrease in molar mass during the early stages of degradation, similar to the profile of PLLA/a-PHB5. PLLA/a-PHB20 presented a single, constant linear degradation profile. PLLA/PPA5 and PLLA/PPA20 showed completely opposing degradation profiles relative to PLLA, exhibiting a slow initial phase and a rapid decrease after a prolonged degradation time. PLLA/PPA5/comp and PLLA/PPA20/comp had degradation profiles between those of the miscible and the immiscible blends. The molar masses of the materials were approximately the same after 1 year of degradation despite their different profiles. The blend composition and topographical images captured at the last degradation time point demonstrate that the blending component was not leached out during the period of study. The hydrolytic stability of degradable polyester materials can be tailored to obtain different and predetermined degradation profiles for future applications.
Project description:The compatibilizer with double comb structure has a superior compatibilizing effect for immiscible polymer blends due to the symmetrical structure on both sides of main chains. Extensive study related to the architectural effects of compatibilizer on the compatibilization has mainly focused on the side chains. We investigated the influence of the compatibilizer-main-chain structure on the compatibilizing effect for immiscible poly(vinylidene fluoride)/poly(L-lactic acid) (PVDF/PLLA) blends. Two reactive-comb compatibilizers with polystyrene (PS) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) as main chains and PMMA as the side chains have been synthesized. PS is immiscible with both PLLA and PVDF, while PMMA is miscible with PVDF. It was found that both compatibilizers can improve the compatibility between the PLLA and PVDF, with different compatibilization effects. In the PVDF/PLLA (50/50) blends, 1 wt.% poly(styrene-co-glycidyl methacrylate)-graft-poly(methyl methacrylate) (RC-SG) tuned the morphology from the droplet-in-matrix structure to the co-continuous structure, while the blends with poly(methyl methacrylate-co-glycidyl methacrylate)-graft-poly(methyl methacrylate) (RC-MMG) kept the sea-island structure with even 3 wt.% loading. Moreover, RC-SG induces a wider co-continuous interval range than RC-MMG. The co-continuous structure obtained by RC-SG was also more stable than that by RC-MMG. It was further found that RC-SG-compatibilized PVDF/PLLA blends exhibit higher mechanical properties than the RC-MMG-compatibilized blends.
Project description:Accelerating the rate of polyester hydrolytic degradation is of interest for numerous biomedical applications. Poly(?-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) have been extensively studied as thermoplastic homo- and copolymers as well as PCL-PLLA blends. PCL-PLLA semi-interpenetrating networks (semi-IPN) prepared with thermoplastic PLLA embedded in a cross-linked PCL diacrylate (PCL-DA) network were previously shown to exhibit uniquely accelerated degradation behavior that increased with PLLA content. Herein, their properties before and during degradation were further investigated to reveal the origin of this behavior and to better understand the semi-IPNs' degradation mechanism. Initially, semi-IPNs exhibited restricted spherulite size and irregularity, as well as a phase-separated morphology and PLLA-rich surface. Under accelerated conditions (1 M NaOH, 37 °C), degradation was revealed to be initiated in PLLA regions. It was also found that the PCL-DA crosslinking and PCL-PLLA phase separation played the largest roles in degradation rates and that semi-IPNs underwent faster rates of degradation than an analogous blend largely due to the reduced crystallinity of PCL-DA. Non-accelerated conditions (PBS [pH = 7.4], 37 °C) up to 56 weeks, which had never before been studied for polyester semi-IPNs, revealed similar trends in degradation rates.
Project description:Blends of poly (L-lactide) (PLLA) and poly (?-caprolactone) (PCL) with and without paclitaxel were prepared via solution casting. DSC analysis as well as SEM analysis of the PLLA/PCL blend solution cast films showed that these blends are all phase separated.%PLLA crystallinity was found to increase with increasing PCL content (up till 15 wt.%). The PCL phase is found to homogeneously disperse in the PLLA matrix as spherical domains where the pore diameters of the PCL domains significantly increased with increasing PCL content. The degradation profiles matched with the slower degrading component PCL rather than PLLA and also increasing PCL content of the blends increased the degradation rate relatively. The increased crystallinity of the PLLA phase with increasing PCL contents confirmed that the degradation occurred through PCL phase. Cell proliferation on PLLA/PCL blends showed that all these blends were suitable for the support of cellular growth. Apoptosis assay with the paclitaxel-loaded PLLA/PCL blends showed an increase in cell death throughout 7 days of incubation where the cell death was increased with increasing PCL contents. This was attributed to the faster release of paclitaxel which was at least partially affected by the faster degradation rate at increasing PCL contents. The paclitaxel release was shown to be degradation controlled in the initial stages followed by a faster diffusion-controlled release in the later stages. These polymer blends were found to be very suitable paclitaxel release agents for which the paclitaxel release times can be altered with the composition of the blend and the film thickness.
Project description:Polybutylene succinate (PBS) is a biodegradable polyester with better processability and different mechanical properties compared to polylactides (PLAs), the most commonly used synthetic polymers in tissue engineering (TE). Since only few studies have evaluated PBS-containing materials for bone TE, we prepared PLA-PBS blends and analyzed material properties as well as cell attachment, proliferation, and osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) on scaffolds. In addition to PLA, PBS, and PLA-PBS blends, PLA-polycaprolactone and PLA-poly(trimethylene carbonate) blends were evaluated. Polymer fibers were prepared using melt spinning. Pure PBS was observed to have the highest crystallinity and strain at break compared to the tougher PLA and PLA blends. No degradation occurred during the 4-week hydrolysis in either of the materials. Knitted and rolled scaffolds were manufactured, seeded with hMSCs, and cultured for 27 days. Human MSC viability was good on all the materials, but cell spreading along the fibers was only detected in PBS-containing scaffolds. They also induced the strongest proliferative response and osteogenic differentiation, which diminished with decreasing PBS content. Based on these results, PBS is superior to PLA with respect to hMSC attachment, proliferation, and osteogenesis. This encourages utilizing PBS-based biomaterials more widely in bone TE applications.
Project description:The physical modification of glass transition temperature (T(g)) and properties of materials via blending is a common practice in industry and academia and has a large economic advantage. In this context, simple production of hitherto unattainable new inorganic glass blends from already existing glass compositions via blending raises much hope with the potential to provide new glasses with new and improved properties, that cannot be achieved with classical glass synthesis, for a plethora of applications such as computers screens, glass-to-metal seals, and storage materials for nuclear wastes. Here, we demonstrate that blends of the specific glass compositions studied are miscible in all proportions, an unreported phenomenon in hard condensed matter like glass. Interestingly, excellent agreement was found between the obtained data and calculated Tgs from theoretical equations (Supplementary information) for predicting the composition dependence of T(g) for miscible blends with weak but significant specific interactions between the blend components. That this blending method is at present not applied to inorganic glasses reflects the fact that water and chemically resistant phosphate glasses with relatively low T(g)s have become available only recently.
Project description:The rate of degradation of large-scale synthesized polylactide (PLA) of industrial origin was compared with that of laboratory-scale synthesized poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) of similar molar mass. The structural discrepancy between the two material types resulted in a significant difference in degradation rate. Although the hydrolysis of industrial PLA was substantially faster than that of PLLA, the PLA material became less brittle and fragmented to a lesser extent during degradation. In addition, a comprehensive picture of the degradation of industrial PLA was obtained by subjecting different PLA materials to hydrolytic degradation at various temperatures and pH's for up to 182 days. The surrounding environment had no effect on the degradation rate at physiological temperature, but the degradation was faster in water than in a phosphate buffer after prolonged degradation at temperatures above the T(g). The degree of crystallinity had a greater influence than the degradation environment on the rate of hydrolysis. For a future use of polylactide in applications where bulk plastics are generally used today, for example plastic packages, the appropriate PLA grade must be chosen based on the conditions prevailing in the degradation environment.
Project description:The classification of miscible and immiscible systems of binary alloys plays a critical role in the design of multicomponent alloys. By mining data from hundreds of experimental phase diagrams, and thousands of thermodynamic data sets from experiments and high-throughput first-principles (HTFP) calculations, we have obtained a comprehensive classification of alloying behavior for 813 binary alloy systems consisting of transition and lanthanide metals. Among several physics-based descriptors, the slightly modified Pettifor chemical scale provides a unique two-dimensional map that divides the miscible and immiscible systems into distinctly clustered regions. Based on an artificial neural network algorithm and elemental similarity, the miscibility of the unknown systems is further predicted and a complete miscibility map is thus obtained. Impressively, the classification by the miscibility map yields a robust validation on the capability of the well-known Miedema's theory (95% agreement) and shows good agreement with the HTFP method (90% agreement). Our results demonstrate that a state-of-the-art physics-guided data mining can provide an efficient pathway for knowledge discovery in the next generation of materials design.
Project description:Stereocomplex poly(lactide) (PLA) was obtained by solution blending of linear PLLA and PDLA-PEG-PDLA. Effects of the L/D ratios, PEG block, and PDLA block on stereocomplexation of the blends are systemically discussed. The full stereocomplex PLA can be acquired by solution blending when L/D ratios are in the range of 7/3⁻5/5. The experiment results demonstrated that the stereocomplex degree of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA prepared by melt blending was closely related to the PEG block and PDLA block. POM results indicated that the blends with high L/D ratio showed large disordered spherulites, and the typical Maltese cross pattern was observed as the L/D ratios decreased. The results of PEG block on the stereocomplexation of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA revealed that the PEG blocks possessed two sides: accelerating agent for the mobility of polymer chains and decreasing nucleation capacity due to their diluting effect. The effect of PDLA block on the stereocomplexation of the blends was also well investigated. The results showed that the crystallization of sc-crystallites and hc-crystallites in the PLLA/PDLA-PEG4k-PDLA blends with different PDLA blocks presents an obvious competition relationship, and this is not beneficial to the formation of sc-crystallites with increasing PDLA block. The melting behavior of PLLA/PDLA-PEG4k-PDLA with different PDLA blocks after isothermal crystallization showed that the blends could achieve full stereocomplex when the crystallization temperature exceeded 160 °C, and a crystallite with high perfection could be formed as the crystallization temperature increased. This study systemically investigated the effects of the L/D ratios, PEG block, PDLA block, and crystallization conditions on stereocomplex crystallization of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA blends, which can provide potential approaches to control the microstructure and physical performances of PLLA/PDLA-PEG-PDLA blends.
Project description:The crystallization and morphology of PLA-mb-PBS copolymers and their corresponding stereocomplexes were studied. The effect of flexible blocks (i.e., polybutylene succinate, PBS) on the crystallization of the copolymers and stereocomplex formation were investigated using polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (13C-NMR). The PLA and PBS multiple blocks were miscible in the melt and in the glassy state. When the PLA-mb-PBS copolymers are cooled from the melt, the PLA component crystallizes first creating superstructures, such as spherulites or axialites, which constitute a template within which the PBS component has to crystallize when the sample is further cooled down. The Avrami theory was able to fit the overall crystallization kinetics of both semi-crystalline components, and the n values for both blocks in all the samples had a correspondence with the superstructural morphology observed by PLOM. Solution mixtures of PLLA-mb-PBS and PLDA-mb-PBS copolymers were prepared, as well as copolymer/homopolymer blends with the aim to study the stereocomplexation of PLLA and PDLA chain segments. A lower amount of stereocomplex formation was observed in copolymer mixtures as compared to neat L100/D100 stereocomplexes. The results show that PBS chain segments perturb the formation of stereocomplexes and this perturbation increases with the amount of PBS in the samples. However, when relatively low amounts of PBS in the copolymer blends are present, the rate of stereocomplex formation is enhanced. This effect dissappears when higher amounts of PBS are present. The stereocomplexation was confirmed by FTIR and solid state 13C-NMR analyses.
Project description:Membrane-based gas separation has attracted a great deal of attention recently due to the requirement for high purity gasses in industrial applications like fuel cells, and because of environment concerns, such as global warming. The current methods of cryogenic distillation and pressure swing adsorption are energy intensive and costly. Therefore, polymer membranes have emerged as a less energy intensive and cost effective candidate to separate gas mixtures. However, the use of polymeric membranes has a drawback known as the permeability-selectivity tradeoff. Many approaches have been used to overcome this limitation including the use of polymer blends. Polymer blending technology synergistically combines the favorable properties of different polymers like high gas permeability and high selectivity, which are difficult to attain with a single polymer. During polymer mixing, polymers tend to uncontrollably phase separate due to unfavorable thermodynamics, which limits the number of completely miscible polymer combinations for gas separations. Therefore, compatibilizers are used to control the phase separation and to obtain stable membrane morphologies, while improving the mechanical properties. In this review, we focus on immiscible polymer blends and the use of compatibilizers for gas separation applications.