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Keywords:

  • adhesion;
  • enzymes;
  • ESCA/XPS;
  • graft copolymers;
  • polyethylene (PE)

Abstract

An investigation was carried out on the application of dilute chitosan solutions modified by a tyrosinase-catalyzed reaction with 3,4-dihydroxyphenetylamine (dopamine) to the adhesion of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plates photografted with carboxyl-group-containing hydrophilic monomers, such as methacrylic acid (MAA) and acrylic acid (AA). In the case where photografting was carried out at lower monomer concentrations or at lower temperatures, the adhesive strength sharply increased with lower grafted amounts. A sharp increase in the adhesive strength was found to be due to the formation of shorter grafted polymer chains at lower monomer concentrations and/or the restriction of the location of grafting to the outer surface region at lower temperatures. In addition, the adhesive strength also sharply increased at even lower grafted amounts for photografting onto the HDPE plates and/or that of AA because the location of grafting was restricted to the outer surface region. For the AA-grafted LDPE and HDPE plates, substrate breaking was observed. This was attributed to the coverage of the substrate surfaces with grafted poly(acrylic acid) chains at lower grafted amounts and a high water absorptivity of the grafted layer. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of the grafted LDPE plates incubated in a dopamine solution containing tyrosinase suggested that the increase in the adhesive strength was caused by the penetration of enzymatically modified chitosan solutions in the grafted layers and the subsequent reaction of quinone derivatives enzymatically generated with grafted polymer chains. In addition, the surface analysis of the failed surfaces by XPS showed that as the adhesive strength increased, the location of failure was shifted from the interface between the layers mixed with enzymatically modified chitosan materials and grafted polymer chains to the inside the grafted layer containing enzymatically modified chitosan materials. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011