In the present work, two-dimensional systems based on biodegradable polymers such as poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and polylactic acid (PLA) are fabricated by means of a sustainable approach which consists in inducing phase separation in solutions of such polymers and "green" solvents, namely ethyl lactate (EL) and ethyl acetate (EA). The extraction of the solvent is promoted by a controlled drying process, which is performed in either air or supercritical CO2. The latter can indeed act as both an antisolvent, which favors the deposition of the polymer by forming a mixture with EL and EA, and a plasticizing agent, whose solvation and transport properties may considerably affect the microstructure and crystallinity of the polymer films. The morphological, topographical and crystalline properties of the films are tailored through a judicial selection of the materials and the processing conditions and assessed by means of thermal analyses, polarized optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and confocal interferometric microscopy. The results show that the morphological and crystalline properties of the films are strongly dependent on the choice of both the polymer/solvent system and the operating conditions during the drying step. In particular, the morphological, topographical and thermal properties of films prepared starting from highly crystalline polymers, namely PCL and PEO, are greatly affected by the crystallization of the material.

Impact of solvents and supercritical CO 2 drying on the morphology and structure of polymer-based biofilms

CAUSA, ANDREA;SALERNO, AURELIO;FILIPPONE, GIOVANNI
2014

Abstract

In the present work, two-dimensional systems based on biodegradable polymers such as poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and polylactic acid (PLA) are fabricated by means of a sustainable approach which consists in inducing phase separation in solutions of such polymers and "green" solvents, namely ethyl lactate (EL) and ethyl acetate (EA). The extraction of the solvent is promoted by a controlled drying process, which is performed in either air or supercritical CO2. The latter can indeed act as both an antisolvent, which favors the deposition of the polymer by forming a mixture with EL and EA, and a plasticizing agent, whose solvation and transport properties may considerably affect the microstructure and crystallinity of the polymer films. The morphological, topographical and crystalline properties of the films are tailored through a judicial selection of the materials and the processing conditions and assessed by means of thermal analyses, polarized optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and confocal interferometric microscopy. The results show that the morphological and crystalline properties of the films are strongly dependent on the choice of both the polymer/solvent system and the operating conditions during the drying step. In particular, the morphological, topographical and thermal properties of films prepared starting from highly crystalline polymers, namely PCL and PEO, are greatly affected by the crystallization of the material.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/591295
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