An Atomistic Modeling and Quantum Mechanical Approach to the Hydrolytic Degradation of Aliphatic Polyesters


This paper reports computational simulations at two different scales employed to investigate the hydrolytic degradation of two homopolyesters: polyglycolide, PGA and poly(L-lactide), PLLA. Atomistic bulk models were used to investigate the dry and various hydrated states of the two systems. In addition, the first moments of contact between the polymers and water were studied employing atomistic interface models. A higher affinity of water to polyglycolide in comparison with poly(L-lactide) was observed, while diffusion of water was found to be lower in the first polymer. Quantum chemical calculations for the first step of the water-assisted hydrolysis revealed a higher resistance to hydrolytical scission of the L-lactyl units in comparison to glycolyl units.
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