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Pure Appl. Chem., 1999, Vol. 71, No. 11, pp. 2177-2188


Studies on Biodegradable Poly(Hexano-6-Lactone) Fibers. Part 2: Environmental Degradation

M. Mochizuki, T. Hayashi, K. Nakayama and T. Masuda

Abstract: Poly(hexano-6-lactone) (PCL*) fibers were degraded under environmental conditions, including soil burial, sea water exposure, and activated sludge exposure. The extent of degradation was examined by weight loss, mechanical properties loss such as tensile strength and ultimate elongation decreases, and visual observations by scanning electron microscopy. The rate of degradation was found to depend on draw ratio and crystallinity of the PCL fibers with surface erosion of amorphous regions more readily than crystalline regions. The life time of highly-drawn PCL fibers when exposed to soil burial and seawater was evaluated from the view point of environmental applications. In terms of degradation mechanism of PCL fiber breakdown biodegradation seems to be the dominant reaction, that is hydrolysis reaction catalyzed by enzyme secreted by microorganisms.