Biodegradable Elastomers Enabling Thermoprocessing Below 100 °C

Sudipta Panja, Allison Siehr, Anasuya Sahoo, Ronald A. Siegel, Wei Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Biodegradable and biocompatible elastomers are highly desirable for many biomedical applications. Here, we report synthesis and characterization of poly(ϵ-caprolactone)-co-poly(β-methyl-δ-valerolactone)-co-poly(ϵ-caprolactone) (PCL-PβMδVL-PCL) elastomers. These materials have strain to failure values greater than 1000%. Tensile set measurements according to an ASTM standard revealed a 98.24% strain recovery 10 min after the force was removed and complete strain recovery 40 min after the force was removed. The PβMδVL midblock is amorphous with a glass-transition temperature of -51 °C, and PCL end blocks are semicrystalline and have a melting temperature in the range of 52-55 °C. Due to their thermoplastic nature and the low melting temperature, these elastomers can be readily processed by printing, extrusion, or hot-pressing at 60 °C. Lysozyme, a model bioactive agent, was incorporated into a PCL-PβMδVL-PCL elastomer through melt blending in an extruder, and the blend was further hot-pressed into films; both processing steps were performed at 60 °C. No loss of lysozyme bioactivity was observed. PCL-PβMδVL-PCL elastomers are as cytocompatible as tissue culture polystyrene in supporting cell viability and cell growth, and they are degradable in aqueous environments through hydrolysis. The degradable, cytocompatible, elastomeric, and thermoplastic properties of PCL-PβMδVL-PCL polymers collectively render them potentially valuable for many applications in the biomedical field, such as medical devices and tissue engineering scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Prof. Marc Hillmyer for the use of the Shimadzu AGS-X tensile tester and the equipment for SEC-MALLS, Prof. Victor Barocas for use of the TestResources 100Q Tensile Tester, Prof. Dave Wood for the use of the Carver 4386 hot-press, Prof. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari for the use of the CELLINK’s BIO-X 3D printing instrument, and Prof. Chun Wang for the use of synthesis equipment. The authors thank Prof. Chun Wang for discussions. Melt blending was carried out in the College of Science and Engineering Polymer Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which has received capital equipment funding from the National Science Foundation through the UMN MRSEC under Award number DMR-2011401. NMR analyses were performed in the LeClaire-Dow instrumentation facility, which is supported by the Office of the Vice President of Research, College of Science and Engineering, and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. The authors used the glovebox in the Minnesota Nanocenter, which is supported by the National Science Foundation through the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) under Award number ECCS-2025124. This work was supported by the University of Minnesota Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPRIME) and the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM).

Publisher Copyright:

MRSEC Support

  • Shared

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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