The biodegradability of lactic acid based poly(ester-urethanes) was studied using the headspace test method, which was performed at several elevated temperatures. The poly(ester-urethanes) were prepared using a straight two-step lactic acid polymerization process. The lactic acid is first condensation polymerized to a low molecular weight hydroxyl-terminated telechelic prepolymer and then the molecular weight is increased with a chain extender such as diisocyanate. In the biodegradation studies the effect of different stereostructures (different amounts of D-units in the polymer chain), the length of ester units, and the effect of crosslinking on the biodegradation rate were studied. The results indicate that poly(ester-urethanes) do not biodegrade at 25°C, but at elevated temperatures they biodegrade well. The different stereostructures and crosslinking have a strong influence on the biodegradation rate. The length of ester units in the polymer chain also affects the biodegradation rate, but much less than crosslinking and stereostructure.
- headspace test method
- lactic acid