Shape-memory capability of binary multiblock copolymer blends with hard and switching domains provided by different components


The structural concept of shape-memory polymers (SMP) is based on two key components: covalent or physical crosslinks (hard domains) determining the permanent shape and switching domains fixing the temporary shape as well as determining the switching temperature Tsw. In conventional thermoplastic SMP hard and switching domains determining segments are combined in one macromolecule. In this paper we report on binary polymer blends from two different multiblock copolymers, whereby the first one provides the segments forming hard domains and the second one the segments forming the switching domains. A poly(alkylene adipate) mediator segment is incorporated in both multiblock copolymers to promote their miscibility as the hard segment poly(p-dioxanone) (PPDO) and the switching segment poly(-caprolactone) (PCL) are non-miscible. All polymer blends investigated showed excellent shape-memory properties. The melting point associated to the PCL switching domains Tm,PCL is almost independent of the weight ratio of the two blend components. At the same time the mechanical properties can be varied systematically. In this way complex synthesis of new materials can be avoided. Its biodegradability, the variability of mechanical properties and a Tsw around body temperature are making this binary blend system an economically efficient, suitable candidate for diverse biomedical applications.
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