Hydrolytic degradation of melt-extruded fibers from poly(β-propiolactone)

Authors

  • Torbjörn Mathisen,

    1. Department of Polymer Technology, The Royal Institute of Technology, 10044 Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Ann-Christine Albertsson

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Polymer Technology, The Royal Institute of Technology, 10044 Stockholm, Sweden
    • Department of Polymer Technology, The Royal Institute of Technology, 10044 Stockholm, Sweden
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Abstract

β-Propiolactone was polymerized in bulk at 5°C using pyridine as initiator. The melt spun fibers were drawn at 50°C and subjected to degradation, which was monitored by mechanical, thermal, and molecular weight measurements. The hydrolytic degradation of poly(β-propiolactone) fibers has been investigated in a buffered salt solution (pH 7.2) maintained at 37°C. The degradation was found to be very rapid during the first 90 days of immersion, with respect to mechanical properties and the weight average molecular weight. Between 90 and 180 days there were no significant changes in the mechanical properties which, however, rapidly decreased thereafter and finally reached zero at 240 days. The crystallinity seemed to increase in a linear fashion, during the same period, from about 55 to 70%.

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