Polyester urethane functionalizable through maleimide side-chains and cross-linkable by polylactide stereocomplexes


Sustainable multifunctional alternatives to fossil-derived materials, which can be functionalized and are degradable, can be envisioned by combining naturally derived starting materials with an established polymer design concept. Modularity and chemical flexibility of polyester urethanes (PEU) enable the combination of segments bearing functionalizable moieties and the tailoring of the mechanical and thermal properties. In this work, a PEU multiblock structure was synthesized from naturally derived L-lysine diisocyanate ethyl ester (LDI), poly(L-lactide) diol (PLLA) and N-(2,3-dihydroxypropyl)-maleimide (MID) in a one-step reaction. A maleimide side-chain (MID) provided a reactive site for the catalyst-free coupling of thiols shown for L-cysteine with a yield of 94%. Physical cross-links were generated by blending the PEU with poly(D-lactide) (PDLA), upon which the PLLA segments of the PEU and the PDLA formed stereocomplexes. Stereocomplexation occurred spontaneously during solution casting and was investigated with WAXS and DSC. Stereocomplex crystallites were observed in the blends, while isotactic PLA crystallization was not observed. The presented material platform with tailorable mechanical properties by blending is of specific interest for engineering biointerfaces of implants or carrier systems for bioactive molecules.
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