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Title: Synthesis and degradation behavior of poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate)

item Han, Moon
item Kim, Sanghoon
item Liu, Sean

Submitted to: Polymer Degradation and Stability
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2008
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: Han, M.G., Kim, S., Liu, S.X. 2008. Synthesis and degradation behavior of poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate). Polymer Degradation and Stability. 93(7):1243-1251.

Interpretive Summary: Biodegradable polymers have attracted increasing attention over the last two decades because of our environmental concerns. Biodegradable polymer composites can be developed by blending two or more of the degradable biopolymers. Poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate)s are the materials that possess biodegradability and biocompatibility. These polymers can serve as one of the components of the degradable polymer composites as they work as a very efficient binder. When this material is blended with agricultural biopolymers, the overall degradation rate of the produced polymer composite will be governed by its degradation rate. In this research, the degradation behavior of poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate) was investigated by varying experimental conditions to understand the degradation mechanism at various conditions. This research offers a better understanding on the degradability of poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate)s whereby we can predict the degradability of the biopolymer composites developed in NCAUR. Scientists and manufacturers in industry and academia developing biodegradable polymer materials would benefit from this work.

Technical Abstract: Poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate) was synthesized using N, N'-dimethyl-p-toulidine (DMPT) as an initiator through anionic/zwitterionic pathway. The degradability and the degradation mechanism of the prepared polymers were carefully examined from various points of views. It was found that the polymers were inherently unstable in both elevated temperatures and solutions, thus exhibited unexpected degradation behaviors. Through our experimental efforts of unprecedented methodology, it was concluded that the degradation of the polymer was attributed to the depolymerization by unzipping of the monomer from the polymer chain end. The unzipped monomer was then repolymerized to form new polymer with shorter chain length when it was degraded in solution. However, the degradation behaviors of the polymers could be altered by changing solvent, raising temperature, and by adding additives. These findings give an insight into the degradation behavior of poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate)s, which is a crucial point in utilizing these polymer homologues for various applications.