Preparation and characterization of blends of star-poly(ε-caprolactone-co-D,L-lactide) and oligo(ε-caprolactone)
Polymer blending provides a relatively facile means of combining the separate desirable properties of different polymers into a single material. In this paper blends of a low-molecularweight star co-polymer of ε-caprolactone and D,L-lactide with a linear oligo(ε-caprolactone) are prepared and characterized as a possible biodegradable injectable drug-delivery vehicle. The melting characteristics, melt viscosity and degree of crystallinity of the blends were measured, and an in vitro degradation study was performed over a period of 12 weeks. The blends all had a single glass transition temperature and an onset of melting point near body temperature, with the melting point range decreasing as the star co-polymer content increased. The melt viscosity of the blends increased as the star co-polymer content increased, in a manner consistent with miscible blend behavior. The star co-polymer degraded fastest, with a more than 60% mass decrease over the 12-week period. As the oligo(ε-caprolactone) content increased, the degradation rate decreased, with the oligo(ε-caprolactone) exhibiting a mass loss of only 12% over the 12-week period.
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