Hydrolytic degradation behavior of a renewable thermoplastic Elastomer

Carolyn L. Wanamaker, William B. Tolman, Marc A. Hillmyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The hydrolytic degradation of polylactide-polymenthide-polylactide triblock copolymers (37 °C, pH 7.4) is compared to that of the component homopolymers. In addition to mass loss and water uptake measurements, size exclusion chromatography (SEC), 1H NMR spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and mechanical testing were used to monitor property changes during degradation. The rate of copolymer degradation was significantly influenced by the molecular weight of the polylactide end blocks. Mass loss of the polylactide homopolymer and the copolymer samples was observed once a decrease in the total molecular weight of the samples of 20% occurred. 1H NMR spectroscopy and DSC analysis of the copolymers during degradation revealed that the released oligomers contained mostly polylactide. After initial water uptake in which the mechanical properties were compromised to an extent, the Young's modulus and elongation at break of the biorenewable copolymers remained relatively unperturbed for up to 16 weeks, with significant retention of thermoplastic elastomeric properties for up to 21 weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-448
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 9 2009


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