Study of the Influence of PCL on the In Vitro Degradation of Extruded PLA Monofilaments and Melt-Spun Filaments

Polymers (Basel). 2021 Jan 6;13(2):171. doi: 10.3390/polym13020171.


This work presents the effect of a melt-spinning process on the degradation behavior of bioresorbable and immiscible poly(d,l-lactide) (PLA) and polycaprolactone (PCL) polymer blends. A large range of these blends, from PLA90PCL10 (90 wt% PLA and 10 wt% PCL) to PLA60PCL40 in increments of 10%, was processed via extrusion (diameter monofilament: ∅ ≈ 1 mm) and melt spinning (80 filaments: 50 to 70 µm each) to evaluate the impact of the PCL ratio and then melt spinning on the hydrolytic degradation of PLA, which allowed for highlighting the potential of a textile-based scaffold in bioresorbable implants. The morphologies of the structures were investigated via extracting PCL with acetic acid and scanning electron microscopy observations. Then, they were immersed in a Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM) media at 50 °C for 35 days and their properties were tested in order to evaluate the relation between the morphology and the evolution of the crystallinity degree and the mechanical and physical properties. As expected, the incorporation of PCL into the PLA matrix slowed down the hydrolytic degradation. It was shown that the degradation became heterogeneous with a small ratio of PCL. Finally, melt spinning had an impact on the morphology, and consequently, on the other properties over time.

Keywords: biodegradable polymers; extrusion; immiscible blend; melt spinning; polyesters.