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Nanomechanical properties of poly(trimethylene malonate) and poly(trimethylene itaconate) during hydrolytic degradation

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Abstract

The aim of this work was to evaluate surface mechanical properties of two bioplastics, poly(trimethylene malonate) (PTM) and poly(trimethylene itaconate) (PTI), during hydrolytic degradation. Renewable resource-based PTM and PTI were synthesized from 1,3-propanediol (PDO), malonic acid (MA), and itaconic acid (IA) via melt polycondensation. The hydrolytic degradation was performed in deionized (DI) water (pH 5.4) at room temperature. Morphology and surface mechanical properties at the nanoscale were monitored by atomic force microscopy (AFM) using a quantitative nanomechanical property mapping mode as a function of degradation time. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) were used to show shifted phase transitions depending on the degradation. DSC studies showed hydrolytic degradation induced crystallinity for PTI. After degradation for one week, the degree of crystallinity had significantly increased, and the elastic modulus of PTI had decreased by 58%. PTM was found to be hygroscopic. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41069.

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