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Accelerated ageing and degradation in poly-l-lactide/hydroxyapatite nanocomposites

Delabarde, Claire, Plummer, Christopher J.G., Bourban, Pierre-Etienne, Månson, Jan-Anders E.
Polymer degradation and stability 2011 v.96 no.4 pp. 595-607
cold, crystallization, hydrophilicity, hydroxyapatite, nanocomposites, plastic deformation, polylactic acid, sodium hydroxide, tensile strength, transmission electron microscopy
Dry, compression molded films of medical grade poly-l-lactide (PLLA) showed a marked reduction in tensile strength and strain after accelerated ageing in aqueous NaOH at 50°C, accompanied by mass loss, surface erosion, increased hydrophilicity and, in the case of the initially amorphous films, cold crystallization owing to the plasticizing effect of the ageing medium. Addition of well dispersed nanosized hydroxyapatite (nHA) particles resulted in increases in the rate of mass loss during ageing, identified with accelerated degradation at the matrix/particle interfaces. However, the associated decreases in tensile strength and strain to fail with ageing time were far less marked in the presence of the nHA than in the unmodified films. This implied that nHA acts as an effective toughener of the bulk material, consistent with TEM observations of the deformed films, which indicated failure of the particle–matrix interfaces to promote plastic deformation of the PLLA.