Broadband Dielectric Spectroscopic Characterization of the Hydrolytic Degradation of Carboxylic Acid-Terminated Poly(D,L-lactide) Materials

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Polymers and High Performance Materials


Broadband dielectric spectroscopy was used to examine carboxylic acid-terminated poly(D,L-lactide) samples that were hydrolytically degraded in 7.4 pH phosphate buffer solutions at 37 degrees C. The dielectric spectral signatures of degraded samples were considerably more distinct than those of undegraded samples and a T-g-related relaxation associated with long range chain segmental mobility was seen. For both degraded and undegraded samples, a relaxation peak just beneath a DSC-based T-g was observed, which shifts to higher frequency with increasing temperature. Thus, this feature is assigned as the glass transition as viewed from the dielectric relaxation perspective. Linear segments on log-log plots of loss permittivity vs. frequency, in the low frequency regime, are attributed to d.c. conductivity. An upward shift in relaxation peak maximum, f(max), observed especially after 145 d of immersion in buffer, implies a decrease in the time scale of long range segmental motions with increased degradation time. Permittivity data for degraded and undegraded materials were fitted to the Havriliak-Negami equation with subtraction of the d.c. conductivity contribution to uncover pure relaxation peaks. Parameters extracted from these fits were used to construct Vogel-Fulcher-Tammann-Hesse (VFTH) curves and distribution of relaxation time, G(tau), curves for all samples. It was seen that the relaxation times for the a-transition in both degraded and undegraded samples showed VFTH temperature behavior. G(tau) curves showed a general broadening and shift to lower tau with degradation, which can be explained in terms of a broadening of molecular weight within degraded samples and faster chain motions. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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