Novel Nanostructured Polymeric Composites of Polycaprolactone and Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene via a Supercritical-Fluid Route


  • We acknowledge the EPSRC for a studentship (A. J. B) and the EPSRC Multi-Use Equipment Initiative for funding (J. Z.). We thank Mr. P. Fields and Mr. R. Wilson for their advice and technical assistance, and Perplas Medical Ltd. for supplying the UHMWPE used in this study. We acknowledge also The University of Nottingham Institute of Materials Technology (UNIMAT) and we thank Molecular Profiles Ltd. for access to cryogenic ultramicrotome facilities. SMH is a Royal Society–Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder.


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A supercritical-fluid process for creating blends of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene and biodegradable polycaprolactone is described. These are unobtainable by conventional blending methods or solvents. Spherical crystallites of polycaprolactone (see Figure, light-colored circles) are observable in the blend embedded in the polyethylene matrix (darker background).