Crystallization, Mechanical Properties, and Controlled Enzymatic Degradation of Biodegradable Poly(ε-caprolactone)/Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Nanocomposites
Biodegradable poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)/multi-walled carbon nanotubes containing carboxylic groups (f-MWNTs) nanocomposites were prepared via simple melt compounding at low f-MWNTs loading in this work. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy observations indicate a homogeneous and fine distribution of f-MWNTs throughout the PCL matrix. The effect of low f-MWNTs loading on the crystallization, mechanical properties, and controlled enzymatic degradation of PCL in the nanocomposites were studied in detail with various techniques. The experimental results indicate that the incorporation of f-MWNTs enhances both the nonisothermal crystallization peak temperature and the overall isothermal crystallization rate of PCL in the PCL/f-MWNTs nanocomposites relative to neat PCL; moreover, the incorporation of a small quantity of f-MWNTs has improved apparently the mechanical properties of the PCL/MWNTs nanocomposites compared to neat PCL. The enzymatic degradation of neat PCL and the PCL/f-MWNTs nanocomposites at low f-MWNTs loading was studied in detail. The variation of weight loss with enzymatic degradation time, the surface morphology change, the reduced film thickness, the appearance of f-MWNTs on the surface of the films, and the almost unchanged molecular weight after enzymatic degradation suggest that the enzymatic degradation of neat PCL and the PCL/f-MWNTs nanocomposites may proceed via surface erosion mechanism. The presence of f-MWNTs reduces the enzymatic degradation rate of the PCL matrix in the nanocomposites compared with that of the pure PCL film.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2011-09-01
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