Structure, mechanical properties and degradation behavior of electrospun PEEU fiber meshes and films


The capability of a degradable implant to provide mechanical support depends on its degradation behavior. Hydrolytic degradation was studied for a polyesteretherurethane (PEEU70), which consists of poly(p-dioxanone) (PPDO) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) segments with a weight ratio of 70:30 linked by diurethane junction units. PEEU70 samples prepared in the form of meshes with average fiber diameters of 1.5 µm (mesh1.5) and 1.2 µm (mesh1.2), and films were sterilized and incubated in PBS at 37 °C with 5 vol% CO2 supply for 1 to 6 weeks. Degradation features, such as cracks or wrinkles, became apparent from week 4 for all samples. Mass loss was found to be 11 wt%, 6 wt%, and 4 wt% for mesh1.2, mesh1.5, and films at week 6. The elongation at break decreased to under 20% in two weeks for mesh1.2. In case of the other two samples, this level of degradation was achieved after 4 weeks. The weight average molecular weight of both PEEU70 mesh and film samples decreased to below 30 kg/mol when elongation at break dropped below 20%. The time period of sustained mechanical stability of PEEU70-based meshes depends on the fiber diameter and molecular weight.
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