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Thread: Polyester degradation rates

  1. #1 Polyester degradation rates 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    first post here, but with a problem I can't realy figure out.

    When you look at biodegradable polymers like PLA, PGA and PCL, you see that they have a different degradation rate.


    From slow to fast degradation it goes like this: PCL < PLA < PGA.

    Could someone please explain me, based on the structures why they degrade (slow to fast) in this order?

    The way I see it (can't ask a question without some research ofcourse):
    • PCL is very hydrophobic due to the 5 -CH2- groups it contains, thus in an aqueous situation, hydrolysis will be more difficult.
    • The difference between PLA and PGA: does the CH3 group on the PLA-sidechain exert a hypercojugating effect towards the labile bond that's cleaved in ester hydrolysis? Or is there another explanation?

    Can someone plz clear this out for me?

    Thx in advance!

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