Water absorption and degradation characteristics of chitosan-based polyesters and hydroxyapatite composites

Vitor M. Correlo, Elisabete D. Pinho, Iva Pashkuleva, Mrinal Bhattacharya, Nuno M. Neves, Rui L. Reis

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101 Scopus citations


Blends of chitosan and biodegradable synthetic aliphatic polyesters (polycaprolactone, poly(butylene succinate), poly[(butylene succinate)-co- adipate], poly[(butylene terephthalate)-co-adipate], and poly(lactic acid)) were injection-molded. These samples were immersed in isotonic solution at 37°C for a period of 60 d. The water uptake and the degradation properties, as measured by the loss in tensile strength, were evaluated as a function of time. In this study, the rate and the equilibrium water uptake were proportional to the amount of chitosan in the blend. The addition of HA to chitosan and polyester significantly reduced the equilibrium water uptake. The water uptake did not follow the classical Fickian phenomena and could be expressed by a two-stage sorption non-Fickian diffusion model. Contact angle measurement was used to quantify the changes in surface hydrophilicity as a function of chitosan and polyester composition. The glycerol contact angle decreased with increasing synthetic components in the blend. The blends and composites also showed increased degradation, as quantified by a loss in their mechanical properties, with increase in natural content. The degradation of properties was directly related to the water uptake of the blends; the higher the water uptake, the higher the degradation. Pure polyesters, while having low water uptake, nevertheless showed significant degradation by a precipitous drop in the strain at break. Among the polyesters, poly(lactic acid) displayed maximum degradation, while polycaprolactone displayed the least. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-363
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecular Bioscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 8 2007


  • Chitosan
  • Chitosan blends
  • Degradation
  • Melt based
  • Natural origin
  • Water uptake


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