Melt processing of poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) was conducted over a targeted range of compositions with PLLAs of 118 and 316 kDa in molecular mass to identify morphologies and the phase relationships in these blends. These blends are of interest for use in biomaterials and the morphologies are critical for tissue-engineering studies where biodegradability, pore connectivity and surface texture control tissue viability and adhesion. Simple extrusion of the two polymers produced multiphase blends with an average domain size near 25 μm. Scanning electron microscopy and dynamic mechanical analysis demonstrated that these blends are immiscible, at least in a metastable sense, and regions of co-continuous structures were identified. Such co-continuous, which occurred generally in accordance with rheology prediction models, exhibit a fine interconnected structure that appears effective for fabricating certain biomaterials. A broad and unexpected transition appears in these blends, as measured by modulated differential scanning calorimetry between 70 and 100°C, which may be the glass transition temperature of an alloy phase. The magnitude of this transition is greatest in the fine-structured co-continuous composition region of blends, suggesting the presence of a complex or other derivative of the two primary phases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Polymer blend
- Tissue engineering