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Title: Controlled Degradation of Poly(Ethyl Cyanoacrylate-Co-Methyl Methacrylate)(PECA-Co-PMMA) Copolymers

item Han, Moon
item Kim, Sanghoon

Submitted to: Polymer Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2009
Publication Date: 3/2/2009
Citation: Han, M.G., Kim, S. 2009. Controlled Degradation of Poly(Ethyl Cyanoacrylate-Co-Methyl Methacrylate)(PECA-Co-PMMA) Copolymers. Polymer. 50(5):1270-1280.

Interpretive Summary: Biodegradable polymers have attracted increasing attention over the last two decades because of our environmental concerns. Poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate)s are the materials that possess biodegradability and biocompatibility. These polymers have been widely used for super glue, surgical glues, nanoparticle drug delivery, and so forth due to their easy, fast, room temperature, and catalyst-free polymerization characteristics. However, the application of these polymers has been limited due to their poor stability at high temperature. In this research, the stability of poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate) was enhanced by molecularly incorporating more stable monomer molecules into the backbone of the polymer chain during the synthesis. The improved stability of the developed polymers is promising for the application of these polymers in broader fields with improved performance. It is also recognized that the biodegradability of the produced polymer was not affected by this modification. This research offers a way to improve stability and performance of biodegradable polymers, poly(alkyl cyanoacrylate)s. Scientists and manufacturers in industry and academia developing biodegradable polymer materials would benefit from this work.

Technical Abstract: This paper describes a method for modifying poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate) in order to control the degradation and the stability as well as the glass transition temperatures. Copolymers of poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate-co-methyl methacrylate) (PECA-co-PMMA) with various compositions were synthesized by free radical bulk polymerization. The copolymer was found to be an alternating random copolymer from the calculated monomer reactivity ratios determined by the Finemann-Ross and Kelen-Tüdös equations. This alternating random tendency was responsible for the efficient inhibition of the unzipping degradation of the copolymer. Consequently, the stability of the copolymers at elevated temperature and in solution was significantly improved compared to the PECA homopolymer; the stability was increased with increasing MMA content. The glass transition temperatures of the copolymers were lowered by the incorporation of the MMA, thereby further widening the operating temperature range of these polymer homologues. On the other hand, the copolymer films continued to exhibit hydrolytic degradation in PBS solution at 37 deg C, which is promising for their use as novel biomaterials.