Surface grafting of functional polymers is an effective method to alter material properties and degradation behavior. Two different substrate shapes of poly(l-lactide) (PLLA), i.e., films and microparticles, were surface-grafted with hydrophilic monomers, and their surface degradation was monitored. Surface grafting with a hydrophilic and acidic polymer graft [acrylic acid (AA)] induced large alterations in the surface morphology and topography of the films. In contrast, hydrophilic and neutral polymer grafts [acrylamide (AAm)] had no significant effect on the surface degradation behavior, while the PLLA reference and co-monomeric (AA/AAm) polymer-grafted samples exhibited intermediate surface degradation rates. The grafted PAA chains induced a local acidic environment on the surface of the substrates, which in turn catalyzed the surface degradation process. This effect was more pronounced in the films than in the microparticles. Thus, the nature of the grafted chains and substrate geometry were shown to affect the surface degradation behavior of PLLA substrates.
- properties and characterization
- surfaces and interfaces