Biodegradable Thermoplastic Starch/Polycaprolactone Blends with Co-Continuous Morphology Suitable for Local Release of Antibiotics
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We report a reproducible preparation and characterization of highly homogeneous thermoplastic starch/pol(epsilon-caprolactone) blends (TPS/PCL) with a minimal thermomechanical degradation and co-continuous morphology. These materials would be suitable for biomedical applications, specifically for the local release of antibiotics (ATB) from the TPS phase. The TPS/PCL blends were prepared in the whole concentration range. In agreement with theoretical predictions based on component viscosities, the co-continuous morphology was found for TPS/PCL blends with a composition of 70/30 wt.%. The minimal thermomechanical degradation of the blends was achieved by an optimization of the processing conditions and by keeping processing temperatures as low as possible, because higher temperatures might damage ATB in the final application. The blends' homogeneity was verified by scanning electron microscopy. The co-continuous morphology was confirmed by submicron-computed tomography. The mechanical performance of the blends was characterized in both microscale (by an instrumented microindentation hardness testing; MHI) and macroscale (by dynamic thermomechanical analysis; DMTA). The elastic moduli of TPS increased ca four times in the TPS/PCL (70/30) blend. The correlations between elastic moduli measured by MHI and DMTA were very strong, which implied that, in the future studies, it would be possible to use just micromechanical testing that does not require large specimens.
Keywordsthermoplastic starch, poly(epsilon-caprolactone), polymer blends, micromechanical properties, microindentation, structure-properties relations
Document typePeer reviewed
Document versionFinal PDF
SourceMaterials . 2022, vol. 15, issue 3, p. 1-22.